A WOMAN who picked up a wallet that had been dropped in a shop has admitted theft.

Helen Dungey, 50, of Aldam Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by finding and obstructing a police officer during their duty when she appeared before Darlington Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that the victim was in a shop in North Road and dropped his wallet, containing £320, as he paid for his items on February 4.

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Dungey was behind him in the queue and picked up the wallet before taking it home with her.

David Maddison, prosecuting, said Dungey was tracked to her house by police and became aggressive when they tried to arrest her, which resulted in her hitting a female officer in the face and attempting to head butt another.

John Clish, mitigating, said Dungey’s actions had been ‘opportunistic’ and that she had used the money in the wallet to pay off household bills.

He added: “The defendant was short on cash and she was unable to resist temptation. In regards to the police, she would argue that they were also uncooperative but admits that under the influence of alcohol she acted inappropriately.”

Magistrates gave Dungey a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered her to pay compensation of £323 and a £15 victim surcharge.