Woman jailed for pharmacy fraud

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A serial fraudster has been jailed for 18 months for a string of sneak-in burglaries and using forged prescriptions to get hold of pharmaceutical drugs.

Drug addict Sarah O’Neill - a career criminal with 144 previous offences to her name - finally got her comeuppance at York Crown Court on Thursday last week after being given suspended prison sentences for previous fraud, burglary and drug offences.

Her latest offences occurred while she was subject to one of the suspended sentences.

On November 29 last year, O’Neill, of Billow Drive, sneaked into the staff area at the Sainsbury’s store in Falsgrave Road, stealing a purse and £25 cash belonging to the shop manager.

A week later she waltzed into the staff rooms at the Wilkinson’s store in Scarborough, where she stole two purses containing £80.

Two days later, on December 8, she tried to hoodwink staff at a chemist’s, where she handed them a forged prescription to get hold of pharmaceutical drugs.

But they smelled a rat and despite O’Neill trying to hurry them into handing her the drugs by claiming a taxi was waiting for her outside, they refused to do so and the fraudster left empty-handed.

Undeterred, she targeted the Northstead pharmacy later the same day, when she again handed over a fake prescription in a futile attempt to get hold of drugs such as diazepam.

Police were handed CCTV footage of the two shop burglaries and arrested O’Neill. During questioning, she threatened officers and threw furniture about.

She appeared for sentence last week after admitting three burglaries and two fraud offences at a previous hearing at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Michael Bosomworth said O’Neill had a lengthy criminal record which included 73 fraud offences and 49 thefts. In October last year she was convicted of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

Recorder Benjamin Nolan QC said it was “quite impossible” to give O’Neill anything other than an immediate jail term because she had continued to offend.