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Gravesend thief Michelle Roberts locked up for stealing pensioner's purse
AFTER pretending her teenage son was a terminally ill hospice patient to steal money from charity boxes it was hard for Gravesend thief Michelle Roberts to stoop any lower.
But incredibly she has managed to do it.
This time she stole a purse belonging to an 89-year-old pensioner while carrying out community payback at the Northfleet Sunday Lunch Club for the elderly.
The 43-year-old, of Ascot Road, has now been locked up for 180 days after the suspended sentence she was handed in July for pretending to be a Demelza charity collector was activated.
Roberts failed to show for her appearance at Dartford Magistrates' Court on September 4 and a warrant was put out for the mother of four to be arrested.
Magistrates described her excuse about suffering from sickness and diarrhoea as a result of food poisoning as "a delaying tactic".
She was eventually taken into custody in the early hours of Thursday (September 6) and later the same day pleaded guilty to theft via video link at Medway Magistrates' Court
Roberts stole the purse while its owner enjoyed a roast dinner cooked up by the lunch club at Age Concern, in Coldharbour Road.
The former care assistant was sentenced to 60 days in prison for the theft charge, running concurrently with the 180 days from the activated suspended sentence.
Following the sentencing, Northfleet Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Henry Sandhu said: "Roberts is a prolific offender who has continued to target vulnerable people after being sentenced earlier this year to fraud involving money raised for a local charity.
"Her behaviour is despicable and I hope this sends a message to anyone committing crimes against vulnerable people."
Roberts' previous conviction
IN JULY, Roberts pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud by false representation after taking at least £170 from charity donation boxes bound for Kent Association for the Blind, Kent Air Ambulance and the Afghan Heroes from pubs and shops in Dartford and Gravesend.
A further 15 similar offences committed over a four-week period in June and July were also taken into account by the court.
Roberts pleaded with magistrates on July 11 to keep her out of prison, saying "I’m very sorry" and said she would "never ever do it again," before being ordered to pay £326.67 back to the charities and complete 200 hours community service.
Magistrates accepted the sob stories she put forward in her mitigation, which ranged from her being a victim of domestic abuse to the family being penniless since her husband lost his job at Royal Mail.
They even believed she had put money back into charity boxes because she felt so guilty about the money she had stolen.
But as soon as she left court, she showed her true colours once again and told News Shopper: "You’ve got what you want so now f**k off."
A Kent Probation spokeswoman said: "It’s extremely rare for a criminal offence to happen while a person is undertaking their community payback hours.
"Where it does happen, Kent Probation works closely with the police to share relevant information about offenders on their placements and to take appropriate action."