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Maddie con woman in court

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A woman has been remanded in custody after admitting conning people by pretending to collect money for the Madeleine McCann fund.

Debbie Clifton, aged 33, from Boswell Road, Cannock, pleaded guilty at the town's magistrates court yesterday to conning cash from an elderly woman after knocking on doors in the Johnson Road area of Chadsmoor on June 2 this year.

Clifton also pleaded guilty to stealing a garden ornament worth £4 on June 6 and smashing a window at the Jolly Collier pub in Chadsmoor on June 10.

Mrs Sonia Durrant-Clarke, prosecuting, said: "She told people she was collecting funds for Madeleine McCann and this lady gave her some loose change which amounted to £2.70.

"She left the address and made several more attempts to collect money which proved futile."

She said Clifton had stolen the garden ornament from a house in Cannock after "knocking on doors and windows" to ensure the homeowners were out.

Mrs Durrant-Clarke said the pub window was smashed during an argument.

Mr Neil Fawcett, defending, said the theft of the £2.70 was not substantial but the aggravating feature was that it was a con.

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He said: "She says it wasn't her idea, it was a third party, but she went along with it.

"She made one further attempt in the same area but then desisted.

"She tells me she is regularly in contact with her local vicar and that she expressed her concerns to him.

"She says she put the money in a collection tin in the church."

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He said with regard to the garden ornament, Clifton stated that she spotted the ornament and took it to give her elderly friend.

Mr Fawcett said the damage was caused to the pub window during a drunken argument with her brother.

In mitigation, Mr Fawcett said Clifton has had a problem with drugs.

Magistrates remanded Clifton, who has a list of previous convictions, in custody until July 9 for reports.

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