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Foul-mouthed charity box thief Michelle Roberts walks free from court
A FOUL-mouthed mother who stole money from charity donation boxes across north Kent has narrowly avoided prison.
Michelle Roberts, 43, of Ascot Road in Gravesend was handed a one year prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Dartford Magistrates Court yesterday (July 11).
She previously pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation at the same court on June 20.
As Magistrate Dipak Patel delivered his sentence, Roberts stood nervously in the dock, admitting: “I have done the crime so I shall pay for it.”
She went on to say “I’m very sorry” and she will “never ever do it again,” thanking Mr Patel when the prison sentence was suspended, meaning she could walk free from court.
But as soon as the thieving mother-of-four walked free from court, she showed a different side to the one portrayed in the dock.
When asked for a comment following the sentencing, Roberts told News Shopper: “You've got what you want so now f**k off.”
It was revealed in court how Roberts had suffered a spate of abuse after her crimes were made public in June.
Gurnam Mander, defending Roberts, said: “She has received messages by text, email and people have come to her door abusing her.
“Things have been thrown at her address.
“The whole of the community are fully aware of this, she has had nowhere to hide.”
Roberts stole at least £170 from donation boxes placed in pubs and shops in Dartford and Gravesend on six different occasions between May 5 and April 26 this year.
However, 15 further incidents involving thefts from charity boxes were also considered by the court and with Roberts being ordered to pay £326.67 in compensation to the charities, the true value could be much higher.
Magistrates ordered her to pay £190.67 to Demelza Hospice, £33 to the Kent Association of the Blind and £32 to CLIC Sargent.
She must also pay £31 to the Kent Air Ambulance, £30 to the London Air Ambulance and £10 to Cancer Research UK.
After considering a sentence for more than 90 minutes, Magistrate Dipak Patel said: “This offence meets the custody threshold and that is because of the victims, the pre-planning and preparation, using a child and the long period of time.
“The victims are a vulnerable group of people and they are in similar financial difficulties as you were in, so that makes it even more serious.
“These are very pre planned operations - it was sophisticated and not spur of the moment.
“You have to think about the impact on the community and these charities that provide the service and you yourself should be aware of an example where you were benefited - and you have stolen from that charity which makes it more aggravated and serious.”
Roberts must also complete 200 hours unpaid work with the Service Prospect Group and pay £85 in costs.