Stolen phones paid for parties

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A CALL centre worker stole mobile phones from her employee and blew the money doing her nails and partying on nights out.

Greedy Rebecca Martin stole 43 mobiles worth more than £13,300 during a nine-month spree at T-Mobile in Doxford Park, Sunderland.

Martin, a 22-year-old data entry clerk from Tadcaster Road, Thorney Close, also stole 17 shopping vouchers from the firm worth £425.

She sold on some of the stolen mobiles to unsuspecting friends, telling them they were unwanted upgrades and used the cash to fund an extravagant lifestyle of shopping and parties, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard.

Martin pleaded guilty to two offences of theft and two of fraud at court earlier this week, including fraudulently applying two credits of £115 to her sister’s T-Mobile account.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck told the court the mobiles were stolen between November 2009 and July last year, while the shopping vouchers were taken between September and December 2009.

Martin’s deceit was uncovered during routine checks carried out by the phone firm in August – after the 22-year-old handed her notice in and left.

Investigators discovered orders for 43 mobile phones had been made using Martin’s unique security password and sent to addresses in Sunderland, including her grandmother’s home.

It was not suggested anyone else was involved in Martin’s fraud.

Mrs Beck said: “During the course of the investigation, a number of stolen handsets have been traced. Innocent purchasers have been allowed to keep their mobile telephones.

“She fully admits stealing the telephones and vouchers but underestimated the amount she had stolen, saying she got carried away.”

“She spent all the gift vouchers and money from the mobile phones on ‘junk’ for herself – clothes, nails and nights out and had nothing to show for it.”

Defending, Joanne Gatens said Martin had no previous convictions and was driven to crime by mounting debts.

She said: “She has a lifestyle that far exceeds her income, that probably far exceeds the income of everybody in this room. She maxed her credit cards.

“Her lifestyle, we submit, is something that could be considered problematic.

“It has got a grip of her so much that she has had to look for alternative means of funding it and unfortunately for her, has taken that very foolish step.”

Magistrates committed the case to Crown Court for sentence, saying the matter was too serious for them to deal with. Martin was granted unconditional bail until the hearing.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said the company “takes all instances of internal dishonesty extremely seriously.

“We regularly monitor for fraudulent activity which is how this offence was identified. The matter was referred directly to the police.”