A Scarborough woman repaid the kindness of a family who took her in by stealing thousands of pounds worth of jewellery within days of moving in.
Ashleigh Halifax was looking for somewhere to live while working at Scarborough’s Sport Direct store when a colleague said she would ask her parents if they would be willing to take her in as a lodger.
The family agreed and Halifax, then 18, moved in during July, this year, for £50 a week.
However, during the course of the month, said Helen Wheatley, prosecuting at York Crown Court, the family discovered sentimental jewellery was missing from the parent’s bedroom.
It transpired that Halifax, now 19, had cashed in the items, valued at £8,000, for £950 at a local jewellers and within days it was melted down.
Halifax, now of Falsgrave Road, initially denied matters, but returned to the police station the day after her arrest to make full admissions.
She appeared at court this week for sentencing, having previously pleaded guilty to one charge of theft and one of fraud by making a false representation.
Shara Amescu, mitigating, said her client came before the court “repentant, contrite and very much ashamed”.
She said Halifax had realized she could not manage on her income and, to her shame, had taken the jewellery.
Miss Amescu added the offence was out of character for Halifax; a helper with Mencap in her spare time.
Passing sentence, the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said the family had been very much hurt by the breach of their trust.
He added that, although he recognized their views that the defendant was a “calculating and ungrateful” person, he had guidelines to follow which were designed to ensure similar sentences were passed across the country.
He told Halifax: “I cannot ignore these guidelines, whether I take a different view of your behaviour or not.”
Unemployed Halifax was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order, with a requirement that she undertake 180 hours unpaid work.
She was also ordered to pay her victims £695 for the losses they had suffered.