In a ‘moment of madness’ a 26-year-old woman took a bank card that had been left in a parking ticket machine and used it three times to buy goods under £30 until the card was rejected because it had been cancelled.
Abigail Matthews of Amos Way, Sibsey admitted one charge of theft, and three of committing fraud by false representation, when she appeared at Boston Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecuting, Jim Clare said Matthews had found the card in a parking machine at the Springfield retail outlet at Spalding on the afternoon of December 2, after the owner had forgotten to take it back.
He said that she kept the card and used it to buy cigarettes and scratch cards and other items at three different outlets over the next hour or two, on every occasion for goods valued at under £30 so that she could use the contactless system, which does not necessitate the input of a PIN number.
Mr Clare said that on the fourth attempt, the card was declined because by then the owner had notified her bank that she had lost her card, and it had been cancelled.
He said that one of Matthews’ purchases had been at a petrol station and she had been captured on CCTV which was posted onto social media, as a result of which Matthews handed herself in to the police.
Matthews, who told police she ‘deeply regretted her actions’, had no previous convictions, said Mr Clare.
Mitigating, Philippa Chatterton said Matthews had voluntarily gone to Boston police station to hand herself in, and had described her actions as ‘silly and stupid’.
She said it had been a ‘moment of madness’ and that she had acted ‘on impulse’.
Ms Chatterton said Matthews had advised her employers, and she had been ‘required to resign’ and was therefore now out of work.
The magistrates imposed a two year conditional discharge, and ordered her to repay £80 in compensation and to pay £105 in costs and charges.