Belfast Telegraph

Woman (21) and girl stole from elderly in bogus charity scam

By Lesley Houston

Two Romanians posing as charity canvassers targeted elderly women in north Down using "sleight of hand skills" to steal their money, a court has heard.

The bogus charity workers, including a juvenile girl who can't be identified, have admitted approaching elderly people in Bangor and Donaghadee and stealing their purses containing £270 while distracting them with requests to fill out forms.

Both defendants live at the same address in Dublin, but court papers list Dinarca Almas (21) has having an address at Harford Street in Portadown.

Almas is on remand at Hydebank, while her young accomplice travelled from Dublin to be present during the case at Newtownards Magistrates Court.

The court heard that the girl, whose age wasn't revealed, has lived in Dublin all her life but that Almas has only been a resident for approximately two years.

She has been in custody since her arrest on August 22.

Neither she nor her young co-accused have a criminal record in any country.

The court heard an officer said the pair had "acted in equal terms" in carrying out the crimes.

Almas has links to the juvenile, which cannot be outlined to protect the girl's identity.

Both face two counts each of unlawful charitable collection, theft, fraud by false representation, making or supplying articles for use in fraud and with possessing articles in connection with fraud.

Each also faces a further charge of obstructing police. The charges took place in Bangor and Donaghadee on July 8 and August 22. Further cases against Almas are to be put to her on Tuesday, October 27, according to an investigating officer, but it is not known whether any further charges will result from a scheduled interview on that date. Almas' barrister appealed for bail stating his client had been in custody for a substantial period.

District Judge Mark Hamill asked what obstacles were in place to prevent her from going across the border into the Republic, but her counsel admitted there were "none".

However, he said police had her identity documents in their possession and that her co-accused had adhered to the terms of her bail.

He added of the youth: "She has attended every court she has been asked to attend which has been disruptive to her schooling (in Dublin) and has made her miss her October assessment today."

Mr Hamill denied bail stating: "It's essential that she is sentenced for this before she has an opportunity to depart for the border."

He added that the "full extent of the criminality" must be explored and gave the prosecution and Almas' legal team until November 6 to decide whether to go for indictment to a Crown Court or have the case dealt with in Newtownards on that date.

Belfast Telegraph


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