Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Wednesday, 13 August 2008 16:41 UK

Mother stole to feed her children

Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Shona Waugh was caught with more than 12 credit cards

A mother-of-eight who told a court she stole bank and credit cards to buy food for her children has been jailed.

Shona Waugh, 37, from Dalkieth, was caught with more than a dozen cards after using them in local supermarkets.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told she had spent almost 650 on groceries, using the cards.

Jailing her for five months, Sheriff Raymond McMenamin said he was sorry for her plight but said she should not turn to crime to tackle her problems.

Waugh was charged with 17 offences after police arrested her in connection with another matter, and overheard her telling one of her young children to get rid of her handbag.

Police seized the bag and found about 14 stolen bank and credit cards inside.

These frauds were committed to buy groceries for the family
Elspeth Macdougall

When they investigated further, they found she had obtained some of the cards just a day after they had been stolen and had used them for multiple supermarket trips.

She pleaded guilty to 10 charges of reset between October 2006 and June 2007, and obtaining 643.98 by fraud during January and February 2007.

Elspeth Macdougall, defending, said Waugh, who has previous convictions for dishonesty and was jailed for four months for another offence on Monday, had turned to credit card fraud to feed her family.

"She was under significant financial burden at the time and was receiving no financial support from her husband," said Ms Macdougall.

"These frauds were committed to buy groceries for the family."

She said four of Waugh's children were now being cared for by their father.

In sentencing, Sheriff McMenamin said: "I'm genuinely sorry to know of all the difficulties you have had in your past but you cannot tackle these or cure them by embarking on criminal behaviour.

"I take the view that a custodial sentence is appropriate."

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