A DRUG addict who befriended a vulnerable pensioner stole more than £700 from him to fund her heroin habit.
Colette Noble, 38, of Second Avenue, Llay, struck up a relationship with 73 year-old Malcolm Buckle over a three month period up to the end of May.
She gained his trust to such an extent he gave her money, which he believed was for her child and rent.
But Noble repaid him by stealing his bank card and pin number to feed her drug use.
The 38-year-old admitted theft and fraud when she appeared at Wrexham Magistrates Court.
In a victim impact statement Mr Buckle said: “Thoughout my life I have helped and trusted people.
“She took advantage of me and it has really upset me.
“Without the help of the police I would be financially ruined and I cannot understand why Colette would do this to me.
“I have been really hurt by this and it will take some time for me to recover.”
With the help of police, the Halifax bank fully reimbursed Mr Buckle for the money taken.
Matthew Ellis, prosecuting, said: “The victim resides alone and the defendant made efforts to be his friend.
“He provided funds for her daughter and rent.
“She gained knowledge of the location of his Halifax bank card and PIN number and when visiting him with a friend, asked to use the toilet and stole the card.
“She withdrew cash at locations across town, and £727.27 had been transacted before the victim realised the card was stolen, and cancelled it.
“The defendant had visited Wetherspoons in Wrexham, tried to buy a drink and found the card had been declined.
“When staff queried it she said she had permission to use it, but they remained suspicious and contacted police.”
Interviewed, Noble told police that Mr Buckle was a companion and that he had knowingly given her money for heroin.
She claimed she had always spent time with older men and had used the money throughout the weekend to fund her serious heroin addiction.
Gary Harvey, defending, invited Andrew Connah from the Probation Service to mitigate.
He said: “She did express remorse and said she is ashamed. She said she has been a victim of deception herself in the past so has empathy for the victim.
“She has a child and left school early to care for her mother who had cancer, but has used crack cocaine and heroin.
Sentencing, chairman of the magistrates’ bench John Perera said: “We feel you have crossed the custody threshold. You targeted a vulnerable victim, befriended him and used his identity to commit fraud for your own financial gain.
“A restraining order will also be put in place to protect Mr Buckle for an indefinite period.”
As well as the restraining order not to enter Fairhaven retirement accommodation or Baron Road where Mr Buckle lives.
Noble was given a two-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a 12-month supervision order with drug rehabilitation.
She was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge
See full story in the Leader