Northern Ireland woman jailed for using Tesco vouchers too many times
A woman has been jailed after taking advantage of a flaw in a voucher system run by supermarket chain Tesco to gather £955 worth of goods.
Angela Rogan redeemed vouchers several times when they should only have been used once.
She told police she did not believe this was dishonest and claimed she was "simply taking advantage of a flaw".
But Dungannon Magistrates Court heard Rogan had a prolific career of thieving and dishonesty, and had racked up five sets of suspended sentences, but continued to offend.
Rogan (41), of Barnfield Grange in Lisburn, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation and eight counts of possessing articles for use in connection with fraud.
The offences occurred on September 21, 2013 when she handed over coupons ranging from £3 to £5 each.
These were used as part-payments for various goods including cosmetics, nappies and washing powder.
Described as "a career thief" by District Judge John Meehan, the court heard that Rogan had convictions dating back to her teens and had offended prolifically.
The court was told police were called to Tesco in Cookstown after a manager became suspicious of the excessive amounts of vouchers Rogan was submitting for reductions on goods.
He challenged her on the validity of the vouchers and refused to accept any further transactions.
Rogan left the scene, driving off in a vehicle that was later traced to her home.
She was questioned about the vouchers and claimed to have purchased them on eBay and understood they were genuine.
Meanwhile, the vehicle was searched and police recovered £955 of goods including large quantities of baby wipes, nappies, deodorants, washing tablets and ink cartridges.
A number of other discount vouchers were discovered, which were examined and found to be duplicates.
During interview Rogan maintained her belief the vouchers were genuine. However, she admitted being aware of a flaw in vouchers for one particular supermarket chain, whereby they could be redeemed several times when it should only have been single use.
Rogan told police she did not believe this was dishonest but instead claimed she was "simply taking advantage of a flaw".
District Judge Mr Meehan expressed dismay at Rogan's "long and prolific record for theft and dishonesty" and noted she had been dealt with lightly in the past.
He was also critical of her refusal to co-operate with probation services for a pre-sentence report and had attended court previously with two infant children - a move designed to invoke compassion, according to the judge.
Referring to this as "the card in play", Judge Meehan remarked: "There is something exasperating about a woman who brings her children to court when she is to be sentenced for her persistent criminal offending career."
Rogan was jailed for three months and ordered to pay fines totalling £400.
She attempted to speak out from the dock but Judge Meehan silenced her.
He told Rogan: "I get the impression you feel you can talk your way out of everything. The matter is closed."