Belfast Telegraph

Malone woman drank bottles of wine she 'collected for charity hampers'

Woman collected wine from neighbours and drank it

A woman with a drink problem told neighbours she was collecting wine for charity hampers - and then drank it herself.

South Belfast woman Diane Lamont has been spared jail over offences which her lawyer described as "impulsive and unsophisticated frauds".

Lamont, from Danesfort in the affluent Malone area, admitted two counts of fraud by false representation on November 6 and December 4 last year.

A prosecuting lawyer told Newtownards Magistrates' Court on Friday how in one incident, Lamont (51) claimed she was collecting wine for a Marie Curie cancer charity hamper.

In the other incident she claimed to be collecting wine for her son's school Christmas hamper.

The lawyer said that in the first incident, Lamont was drunk and wearing pyjamas which raised suspicions.

The neighbour called the police and they arrested Lamont who made full admissions at interview.

When the second incident was reported to police a few weeks later, the description lead police to arrest Lamont for a second time and she again made full confessions.

Judge Mark Hamill asked if she had actually managed to get any wine.

Lamont's solicitor confirmed she had in the Marie Curie cancer incident but had drunk it.

He told the court that since her first court appearance, Lamont "hadn't had a drink...she's on the wagon."

Imposing the 12 month probation order, during which time Lamont must undergo an alcoholic counselling programme, Judge Hamill said it was clearly a case of "an alcoholic desperate for drink."

The judge said there was truth in the saying of "someone needing help more than punishment."

Belfast Telegraph

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