Took bank card while in house as a childminder

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While working as a childminder a 32-year-old woman stole a bank card and used it to make contactless purchases, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

Cherith Douglas, Weavers Lodge, Hamiltonsbawn, admitted stealing a debit card on November 15 last year and three charges of fraud by false representation.

The court heard that she was employed as a childminder and had access to the home of the injured party.

He could not find his debit card and when he contacted his bank he discovered it had been used for three different amounts - £4.99 at McDonald’s in Meadow Lane, £30 at Toymaster and £20 at Tescos in Rushmere.

When interviewed Douglas accepted her presence at the locations where the card was used but denied using it.

The case had been adjourned from a previous court to obtain a pre-sentence report.

A solicitor representing Douglas said it was unsophisticated on the part of her client and she was always going to be caught.

She added that the defendant suffered some financial anxiety and it was coming up to Christmas. At the time she had one child and another one on the way.

The solicitor said she was trying to meet the basic needs of her child. She now had a four year old child and an 18 week old baby. She added that Douglas was extremely remorseful and ashamed ofher inappropriate behaviour.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he took the view this was at the lower end of the scale for breach of trust.

He added that what she had done was ‘impulsive and ill judged’ with ‘no rational thinking’. “In your own words you were shocked and aghast at what you had done,” said the judge.

He accepted she had a clear record and the conviction alone would have an impact on her future.

Judge Copeland gave her an absolute discharge but ordered her to pay a total of £54.99 in compensation.