Young mum from Chester stole diamonds to pay off drugs debt

Reporter:

Steve Creswell

A WOMAN stole diamond jewellery worth more than £5,000 from a customer of
her mother’s cleaning business.

Roxanne Thomas, of Auckland Road, Blacon, also swiped 530 Euros from a suitcase at Wendy Ellis’ home to help pay off a drug debt of about £900.

Chester Magistrates Court heard yesterday that Thomas, 26, had a cocaine habit costing £100 per week and would spend all of her benefits on buying the drug.

Finding herself in serious debt, she started to panic when dealers began visiting the home she shares with her four-year-old daughter.

She took the stolen jewellery to a pawnbrokers and secured a £900 loan, claiming she had inherited the diamonds from her mother.

Thomas pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and one of fraud, and was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

As part of the suspended sentence order she must carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community and a 35-hour rehabilitation activity.

She was also ordered to pay the pawn shop £940 in compensation and £478 to Mrs Ellis, who was described as a friend of the
family.

Rob Youds, prosecuting, said Thomas used to work at her mum’s cleaning company, B’ Spotless, but Mrs Ellis had requested she did not clean her home following a “previous incident”.

On the day of the jewellery theft, May 25, Thomas had accompanied her mother to the house and stole a diamond necklace worth £4,500 and diamond stud earrings valued at £825.

The following day she visited a city pawnbroker and took out a loan of £940 against the jewellery.

A fortnight later, on June 8, she visited the same house and stole 530 Euros, which she later exchanged for £401 in cash.

Mrs Ellis discovered the theft when she returned home from a holiday to find the Euros missing from a suitcase. She then checked her jewellery box and found the diamonds had gone.

Mr Youds told the court Thomas had admitted the thefts when she and her mother visited Mrs Ellis’ house.

She had begun experiencing financial difficulties due to her regular weekend cocaine use, which cost her about £100 a
week.

Her benefits payments covered the cost of the drugs but she was left with no money to pay bills, despite a job working at Primark.

“It started to spiral and she had run up a drugs debt of around £900,” Mr Youds told the court.

In her defence, the court heard Thomas was “truly sorry and ashamed” for what she had done, which was “totally out of character”.

She had suffered with mental health problems in the past but was now ditching the drugs and had “turned over a new leaf”.

Email:

steve.creswell@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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