News

Shepparton mother sent to jail for using stolen bank card

By Liz Mellino

A Shepparton mother has been sentenced to 14 days’ imprisonment after using a bank card which had been stolen by a co-accused during an alleged aggravated burglary.

Chantal Spencer, 37, faced Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on Monday where she pleaded guilty to 10 charges including dishonestly receiving stolen goods.

The court heard sometime on the evening of July 29 a co-accused allegedly forced entry into a home on Maude St in Shepparton while two people were asleep inside.

Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Kim Thomson said once inside the co-accused allegedly stole three phones, an iPad, a laptop and a handbag containing cards in the name of the victim.

The court was told that at 12.05 am on July 30, Spencer attended EG Fuels in High St, Shepparton where she purchased TattsLotto tickets, two packets of cigarettes and some chocolate using one of the cards.

Spencer returned again at 12.40 am and purchased more TattsLotto tickets and fuel.

Sen Constable Thomson said at 1.08 am the accused then attended a McDonald's restaurant in the north of Shepparton where she purchased $43 worth of items through the drive-through.

At 3.37 am Spencer attended an APCO service station where she purchased coke cans, an Optus phone, milk, bread, Optus credit and two iced coffees.

The court heard members from Shepparton's Criminal Investigation Unit arrested the accused at 8.45 am that morning, where they located a small zip-lock bag containing cannabis in the bed next to the accused.

Spencer was interviewed and stated "no comment" in relation to the allegations.

Sen Constable Thomson said Spencer had also been arrested in the early hours of July 5 this year when police intercepted a vehicle in which the accused was seated in the front passenger seat.

“A search of her bag was conducted and police located a knife, four mobile phones, an Apple iPad and an iPod — property suspected to be proceeds of crime,” Sen Constable Thomson said.

Spencer's lawyer Ian Michaelson said his client had been on a "difficult journey" with drugs.

He argued the offending which brought his client before the court was rooted in both drug use and poverty.

“She has used the tap-and-go feature on the card on those occasions at McDonald's and service stations to buy what I would describe for her as the staples of life — that is cigarettes, iced coffee, McDonald's and petrol,” Mr Michaelson said.

“These are all the staples for her that she struggles to make ends meet on the disability pension ... part of her financial struggles are (also) exacerbated by her having used drugs such as cannabis.”

He told the court Spencer was "strapped for cash" on the day of the offending and she had been "doing it quite difficult" during the past couple of weeks.

“An opportunity presented itself when her girlfriend contacted her who had the card, and my client went in and made those purchases,” Mr Michaelson said.

He said Spencer suffered from a racing mind, causing her to use cannabis to help her sleep.

Magistrate Peter Dunn condemned the actions of Spencer, saying she had been before the court on multiple occasions for committing an indictable offence while on bail and contravening conduct conditions of bail.

He ordered her to spend 14 days in jail, declaring three days as already served.

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