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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 17:03 GMT
Bank error spree sisters detained
Two sisters have been sentenced for spending nearly 135,000 put into one of their bank accounts by mistake.

Sarah-Jane Lee, 20, and Amanda Moorcroft, 25, from Blackburn, both admitted theft after spending the cash wrongly paid to Lee.

Preston Crown Court heard the pair went on a spending spree which included a family holiday to Florida.

Lee was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders institution and Moorcroft to 10 months in prison.

Lee went to an Abbey cash machine in November last year and found 135,000 in her account paid in error from the Deutsche Bank of Frankfurt.

She is sorry for what she did and wishes she could turn the clock back
John Woodward, defending Lee

The court heard the bulk of the cash went to Moorcroft's husband, David, 42, his brother Winston, 39, and family friend Mark Utley, 27.

Ms Lee wrote out banker's drafts worth 40,000 each to the brothers and a cheque for 17,000 to Mr Utley.

Mark Lamberty, prosecuting, said Lee was dyslexic and had difficulty in reading so she sought advice from her sister.

She told police that her sister had led her on and what started as a 300 withdrawal to buy children's trainers escalated over 15 days.

By the time bank staff spotted the mistake, only 162.53 was left in the account. A total of 61,000 has since been recovered.

John Woodward, defending Lee, said: "She is sorry for what she did and wishes she could turn the clock back."

'Amusement and pleasure'

Wayne Goldstein, defending Amanda Moorcroft, told the court she admitted equal responsibility, but no more than that.

"Temptation got the better of her. This is a situation that presented itself and she took advantage of it," he said.

Judge Pamela Badley told Preston Crown Court both defendants took advantage of the situation to spend the money on luxury items "for their own amusement and pleasure".

"You spotted the opportunity and lost no time in turning this chance to your advantage, this was sheer greed on your part," said the judge.

She also sentenced David Moorcroft and Winston Moorcroft to 12 months each in jail and gave Utley a 36 week sentence, suspended for two years.

Lee, of Dunoon Drive, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 11 counts of theft totalling 100,300 and retaining wrongful credit.

Amanda Moorcroft, of Sandon Street, admitted to seven counts of theft totalling 18,000.

David Moorcroft, also of Sandon Street, Winston Moorcroft, of Rothesay Road, Blackburn and Utley, of Preston New Road, Blackburn, all admitted handling stolen cash.

The court heard David Moorcroft had repaid 39,113, Amanda Moorcroft 3,360 and Utley 13,186. Winston Moorcroft has paid nothing back.

Sisters 'spent bank error cash'
13 Dec 07 |  Lancashire

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