A PCSO has been sacked after trying to swindle £1,600 from her police force in an "idiotic" scam.
Ellisha Wilson, 26, tried to claim she had not been paid her wages to dupe Merseyside Police into giving her extra cash to pay off her chronic debt.
Senior police colleagues attempted to give Wilson, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan, several opportunities to confess to the lie because officers did not want to see her prosecuted.
The 26-year-old police community support officer (PCSO) had racked up debt in her previous job as an air stewardess, and only eventually admitted the con when evidence of her bank transactions were produced.
Wilson admitted fraud by false representation, and was sentenced to a 16 week 7am to 7pm curfew, 20 days of rehabilitative activity with the probation service and was ordered to pay £180 in costs and a victim surcharge.
Sefton Magistrates Court also heard that the apparent 'missing money' has been accounted for.
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Prosecutor Amie Goulding told the court: "This lady was a community support officer for Merseyside Police. In September of last year she alleged that she had not been paid her wages, £1598.82.
"As a result she was issued with an emergency payment of that money with the agreement that if she had in fact been paid she would not be paid the following month.
"She realised she had not been paid in October so she contacted the pay department and continued to claim that she had not received the pay for September. They sent another further payment of £1,598.82."
The prosecutor said that Wilson's supervisor had attempted to give the young officer "numerous opportunities to provide details to payroll."
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"Effectively, Wilson had received two lots of pay for September," said Ms Goulding.
"There were numerous attempts to continue with the deception.
"She handed in wrong documents and claimed that the money that had been paid had been taken from her account and transferred to Jamaica.
"A production order from her bank account was then produced in order to prove that she was lying.
"It was at that point she admitted she had received the wages. It is a breach of trust. Merseyside Police relies on the honesty and integrity of its employees."
Wilson's lawyer Vicky Balenski claimed that the young PCSO had at-first sincerely thought she had not been paid – but maintained the lie out of embarrassment once she realised she had.
"She had got into debt after the airlines she was working for previously went bust during the pandemic" said Balenski.
"When she was working as an air hostess, she had a credit card on which she would put all of her expenses. When she got paid, she paid the expenses off. Things spiralled when the two companies she worked for went into liquidation.
"She was unable to pay for her credit card. She then became a PCSO. She got paid but when she looked in her bank there was nothing left.
"She genuinely believed that she had not been paid and she made the report.
"But then she just felt embarrassed that she had said she had not been paid and felt she was in too deep to basically turn back.
You play acted. Nobody wanted this to come to a criminal matter but you just persisted… I think you realised at the earliest stage
"It shows a lack of thinking skills and consequential thinking skills. With respect, I would say she is quite immature.
"In fact, she wasn't asked to pay any money back and that was the end of her career as a PCSO,' added the lawyer.
The defence barrister said that her client has since set up her own business and is looking to become a bus driver.
"This conviction may have an impact on that" said Balenski.
"She has been supported by her family but it did put a burden on the relationships in her family. This is out of character for Ms Wilson and something that the family have never had to deal with before.
"This has been going on for some time and he has caused Ms Wilson some considerable distress. She is glad that the matter will be concluded today."
District Judge Wendy Lloyd told Wilson when she sentenced her: "Like many people in the pandemic you found that your finances were lacking. That was the same for many people in all sorts of employment from all walks of life.
"I find it very difficult to believe that you did not think that you had been paid. I imagine that your guilty plea reflects that.
"You knew that there was a big hole in your finances. You are an intelligent woman – I know that you are an intelligent woman because I have read the probation report.
"You knew that your wages would not have put you back in the black, you would still be in the red.
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"It is clear that you got yourself in a difficult situation and you did not know how to deal with it. You chose dishonesty as the way out and continued with that dishonesty even when receiving help and support.
"The rehabilitation days with probation service will help keep you from making similar idiotic and dishonest decisions."
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