Pregnant Sheffield teen locked up for bank card fraud

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A TEENAGER who preyed on a drunken student and stole her bank card to withdraw hundreds of pounds has been locked up for six months.

Chelsea Birch, aged 18, and a pal befriended victim Rebecca Holland in a Sheffield nightclub, and arranged to take her home in a taxi, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said the victim - a third-year student at Sheffield Hallam University - had been drinking cider and vodka and was unable to stand unaided.

She has little recollection of what happened, but remembered being in a taxi with two women she did not know and going to a bank cashpoint.

When she got home she had lost her bank card, mobile phone and house keys and was discovered by her boyfriend at 3am unable to speak.

Miss Gallagher said Birch and her friend had helped Miss Holland in the club.

They then went with her in the taxi saying they would drop her off.

However, on the way they stopped at the Yorkshire Bank, Glossop Road, Broomhill, and, after making a balance inquiry using the student’s PIN, Birch withdrew £200 from her victim’s account.

Miss Holland was dropped at home in the Ecclesall Road area and Birch and her friend went to Napoleon’s Casino where further attempts were made to withdraw cash, with £100 being taken.

The pair then went to Tesco, Infirmary Road, Upperthorpe, and Birch obtained £350 of gift vouchers before an attempt to pay for a trolley-load of food failed.

In all, £650 was stolen from the victim’s account - for which she has been reimbursed by the bank.

Birch, of Fitzhubert Road, Manor, admitted theft and fraud last August.

No evidence was offered by the prosecution against the friend, and theft charges against her were dropped.

Richard Barradell, mitigating for Birch, said she is now three months’ pregnant.

Sentencing her to six months’ detention in a Young Offenders’ Institution, Judge Alan Goldsack told her: “I’m making it slightly shorter because of your present condition.”