Fraudster avoids jail for 'stupid' bid to sell stolen Barry's tokens
A Co Antrim woman who pleaded guilty to selling tokens for Barry's Amusements in Portrush on Facebook was given a suspended jail term yesterday.
Leanne Hoey (45), from Markstown Grove, Cullybackey, admitted posting an ad on social media seeking to sell the tokens, which are used to pay for rides at the tourist attraction.
The defendant, who has a previous record, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court where she was given a three-month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
She admitted a charge of "possessing articles in connection with fraud" on July 6, 2017.
The court heard how a member of staff from Barry's contacted police to say he had been notified that a Facebook advert had been placed by someone offering 50 of the amusement tokens for £15.
The court was told the tokens retail in Barry's for 50p each.
When police searched the defendant's house they found a bag of 500 tokens.
They believed she had sold a few hundred of the tokens, and 23 were retrieved from her car.
The prosecution successfully applied for a compensation order of £111.
District Judge Peter King asked where Hoey had obtained the tokens and if they were genuine.
Prosecution counsel said that they were genuine, and during interview Hoey said someone had "offered them to me for cheap".
The lawyer continued that it was unclear if the tokens had been obtained from Barry's or before they arrived at Barry's.
The defendant, the prosecutor said, had a fair idea they were stolen and sold them.
There was no more information than that, the prosecutor concluded.
Defence counsel said that Hoey accepted that this was an unsophisticated scheme, even using her own Facebook account to advertise their sale.
She made a full admission at interview, the lawyer added.
Judge King noted that there had been convictions for "not dissimilar offences" several years ago.
He told Hoey: "You were always going to get caught, they were always going to go to police, you were always going to end up in court.
"I am happy to put this down to rank stupidity."
The judge added: "If it looks too good to be true, then it is too good to be true. Businesses need to be protected.
"It was on the cusp of the season, any suggestion that there was a trade in tokens would have undermined the business."