A CASH-strapped mum of six stole £300 left at a cashpoint by the customer in front of her in the queue at a South Tyneside bank.
Hard-up Michelle McQueen seized her apparent chance to get hold of some easy money at the automated teller machine at Barclays Bank in Prince Edward, South Shields, in July last year.
The 47-year-old had been waiting to check her own account balance after her card had been declined as she tried to do her shopping, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.
The customer in front of her was distracted by a phone call and walked away without picking up the £300 he had just withdrawn.
McQueen, of Turner Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to stealing the cash.
Christopher Kay, prosecuting, said: “On July 21, a man was using the cash machine in Prince Edward Road in South Shields.
“He was distracted by a phone call. He requested the cash but walked away without it.
“The next person in the queue was the defendant.
“She was seen on CCTV taking the money and leaving.”
Laura Johnson, defending, said: “She was shopping and went to pay for her shopping, but her card was declined.
“She took the money out so she could use the cashpoint herself, thinking he would return.
“The gentleman didn’t return, and she took the money and went back to pay for her shopping and spread the rest of the money between her children.
“The bank reimbursed him for the £300. She has six children and finances are extremely tight.
“This was an opportunist offence. She apologises for her actions.”
McQueen was given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £300 to the bank.