Jail for ex-discus thrower who wore wig and poncho in Sunderland bank scam

Jane Aucott
Jane Aucott
Have your say

A FORMER British athlete disguised herself in wigs and ponchos to carry out a series of bank frauds.

A FORMER British athlete disguised herself in wigs and ponchos to carry out a series of bank frauds.

Jane Aucott, who became a detective after she represented England in the 1990 Commonwealth games, targeted Lloyds TSB branches in Wearside and County Durham during a £20,000, UK-wide scam.

The fraudster escaped with a total of £3,600 during her one visit to the Sunderland bank and two to those in Durham.

The 43-year-old was part of a criminal gang which used stolen bank cards to withdraw money.

Aucott, who left West Midlands CID when she developed a drug habit through her job’s involvement with the criminal underworld in the late 1990s, featured in a Crimewatch appeal after she was caught on CCTV conning bank workers across England in 2008 and 2009.

She had been arrested and questioned over the offences in 2010 ,but went on the run for 18 months before her arrest last summer.

Aucott pleaded guilty to 13 charges of fraud by false representation.

Prosecutor Michael Graham told Newcastle Crown Court that the bank cards had been stolen from unattended bags at hotels and workplaces in Stafford, Newcastle, Morpeth, Middlesbrough and York.

Aucott then cashed them in at banks in Sunderland, Durham, Tyneside, York, Leeds and Tewksbury.

Mr Graham said: “There is no evidence this defendant actually stole the items in question.

“It appears to be the case there were others with whom she worked who were responsible for that.

“The defendant would attend banks, making repeated cash withdrawals, mostly for hundreds of pounds, sometimes disguised by wearing a wig.

“The defendant was formally identified through CCTV that shows some distinctive clothing, a poncho being worn on a large number of occasions.”

The court heard some of Aucott’s former colleagues at the West Midlands force had also been able to identify her from CCTV appeals.

Her former partner John King was jailed for 18 months for his part in the fraud.

Judge Roger Thorn jailed Aucott for a total of three years and two months.

The judge told her: “Your history is extraordinary by any standards.

“As a youngster there you were representing your country at the Commonwealth games in discus then joining the police, and then set with a golden career you became addicted to heroin and so you have been for many years thereafter.”

The judge said the victims who had their bank cards stolen, and sometimes their accounts emptied, had been left feeling “vulnerable and anxious”.

Paul Hodgkinson, mitigating, said: “She started life with so much promise.

“Her fall from grace has been rather rapid.”

Mr Hodgkinson told the court Aucott had shown “great promise” at the Commonwealth games before she applied to and was accepted by the police.

“She found that employment incredibly difficult and stressful.

“Because of her employment she was introduced to a world she had not been familiar with, that of drugs.

“She became, foolishly, of her own volition, embroiled in that world and quickly became addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.

“It has dictated her life, unfortunately, ever since.”

Mr Hodgkinson said Aucott, of Willenhall, Coventry, has had negative drug test results since being held on remand and planned to move back in with her parents after release from jail.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho