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Woman sentenced for theft and fraud after stealing intoxicated passenger’s wallet – South Ockendon

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A security guard has been sentenced for stealing a drunk passenger’s wallet and defrauding him of hundreds of pounds.

Helen Adu, aged 50, of Church Elm Lane, Dagenham, Essex, was working as a member of security staff at South Ockendon railway station on 6 March this year when she was approached by a man who was in an intoxicated state and needed help to purchase his ticket home.

He asked for her assistance and handed over his bank card and PIN so that Adu could use the ticket machine for him.

Adu bought the ticket and gave it to the victim, but kept his wallet and bank cards and the victim left the station. He didn’t realise his wallet was gone until later in his journey home.

By the time the victim, a 44-year-old man, had reported his wallet missing and cancelled his bank cards the following morning, Adu had used his cards eight different times at South Ockendon railway station to withdraw money and top up her personal Oyster card, and withdrew money from three different cash machines in Ockendon and another in Dagenham the next day.

In total, she stole £640 from the victim.

In order to make the cash withdrawals outside the station, Adu left the ticket office where she was on duty and locked the doors for around 15 minutes before returning.

BTP launched an investigation and secured CCTV footage of Adu using the victim’s card at the station.

She was arrested a few weeks later and was seen by the BTP officer trying to stuff a receipt down the back of the police car seat.

The receipt turned out to be an Oyster Top Up receipt from the night of the incident, showing Adu had used the victim’s card to top up her own Oyster card.

Investigating officer, PC Matt Hooper said: “This was a long and very time-consuming investigation. Adu was shown to be extremely dishonest and abused her position of authority and trust by preying on the intoxicated victim who looked to her for help.

“The fact that Adu maintained her innocence even when faced with overwhelming evidence shows the dishonest nature of the defendant by not facing up to her actions. Until the court date she denied the offences, before eventually pleading guilty at court. No person travelling on the railway should expect to have items stolen from them, least of all from a member of security staff who is there to ensure customer safety on the rail network.”

Adu pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation and one count of theft.

She was sentenced at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on 31 August. She was given a community order to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work and rehabilitation activity for 20 days. She was ordered to pay £646 compensation to the victim plus victim surcharge and court costs of £170.

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