Mum tried to cash cheque stolen from Hilsea Lido trust

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A WOMAN who tried to cash a cheque stolen from the trust which runs Hilsea Lido has been given a curfew order.

Stacey Donald claims she found the cheque on the ground near the lido, and then filled it in to make it payable for herself for £800.

She presented the cheque at a cheque cashing shop in Lake Road, Portsmouth, on September 26, this year, using her passport as ID.

But when staff were unable to contact anyone from the trust to verify the amount, Donald was told to come back the next day. The 23-year-old never returned.

When staff did reach the trust and they said the cheque was not authorised, the incident was reported to police who arrested Donald at home.

The single mum entered a guilty plea to one count of fraud by false representation during her appearance at Fareham Magistrates’ Court.

Bridget O’Hagan, defending, said the crime had been ‘opportunistic’ and that Donald had been heavily pregnant at the time and worried about the cost of looking after a new baby.

She added that Donald, of London Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, had been foolish, and said: ‘It was inevitable she would get caught as they had a copy of her passport.

‘She knows what she did was wrong, and she has very different priorities now.’

Chairman of the bench David Picton-Jones said: ‘This is not an insignificant amount of money.

‘We have taken into account her financial circumstances and while times are difficult, this is a serious matter.

‘It may have been opportunistic, but it was nevertheless wrong.’

Donald was ordered to be at home from 7pm to 6am for the next 28 days and pay £20 costs.

Sabrina Richards, chairwoman of the Hilsea Lido Pool for the people Trust, had her handbag containing the chequebook stolen at the lido in late September. She said there had been several other unsuccessful attempts to cash cheques since then.

Mrs said: ‘I’ve found it very upsetting indeed.

‘The bag was reported stolen straight away and fortunately the cheque cashing places do appear to have checks and balances in place and they’re working. The cheques clearly say they’re for the trust and it’s incredibly disappointing that someone should try to do this.’