A woman has been jailed after stealing money from elderly bank customers in North Yorkshire.
Ramona Ilie pleaded guilty to theft and fraud by false representation at York Crown Court and has been sentenced to eight months in prison.
The 29-year-old of London Road, Glasgow, targeted two victims, aged 78 and 89, in Bedale and Northallerton in August 2016.
Working with an unknown male, the offenders observed bank customers type their PIN numbers into cash machines and then obtained their bank cards – on one occasion using a distraction technique to trick their victim.
They then used the stolen cards in Bedale and Northallerton, and subsequently in Richmond, Darlington and Thornaby, Cleveland.
Police traced a vehicle linked to the pair and CCTV footage of the suspects was circulated nationally.
In September last year, Ilie left the country but returned on a flight into Edinburgh Airport on December 15, where she was refused admission to the country and detained. North Yorkshire Police officers travelled to Edinburgh to arrest her.
A distinctive tattoo on her right ankle matched that on the CCTV images, and Ilie was charged and remanded in custody.
She was sentenced to a prison term on Friday.
PC Alastair Gill, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “This investigation was very much a team effort. The staff at the banks, retail premises and Hambleton District Council provided valuable assistance by supplying CCTV images, and colleagues in North Yorkshire Police assisted greatly by gathering material in this lengthy investigation.
“I hope this sentence is a deterrent to any would-be thieves who are intent on targeting the vulnerable and elderly. With the resources the police have available to us, we will eventually track you down and put you before the courts.
“The 78 and 89-year-old victims have still not fully recovered from the ordeal of being a victim of this type of crime. They have, however, been kept updated and offered support throughout the investigation.
“I would like all bank card users to continue to be vigilant when using a cash machine or chip and PIN terminals – remember, you don’t always know what the intentions are of people standing behind or near you.”
Officers are keen to identify a man pictured on CCTV with Ilie, as he may have important information that could assist the investigation. Anyone who recognises is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting reference number 12160144110.