AN identity fraudster used the details of a stranger in an attempt to secure a phone contract that offered two free smartphones, a court heard.

Kelly Claire Allen, 42, of Strelley Road, Nottingham, was arrested by police in Darlington on November 13 last year after staff at the Vodafone store in the town centre raised suspicions about her behaviour.

Allen appeared at Darlington Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, March 18) where she pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation.

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Blair Martin, prosecuting, said Allen entered the Vodafone store and agreed to sign up for a monthly contract which offered two free Samsung Galaxy Note mobile phones, using the name of a woman from Birtley, near Newcastle.

Mr Martin said: “She provided a date of birth and address, but the store assistant said she was uncertain about the details and was looking intently at her own mobile while doing so. She gave some details wrong at first.

“She then handed over a debit card, which the staff member noted had a number that was not aligned properly and had strange marks on it.

"When the system flagged up that someone had previously tried to use those details in a cancelled transaction in the Newcastle Vodafone store staff called police.”

Allen left the store when she realised suspicions had been aroused and was arrested nearby after police tracked her using CCTV.

No details of how Allen came to have the details and debit card of the Birtley woman, who was a stranger who did not know her identity had been stolen, were revealed in court.

In mitigation, the court heard that Allen had acted opportunistically while visiting friends in Darlington and committed the offence because she hoped to get two mobile phones.

She said she was not a dishonest person and was very remorseful for her actions.

Magistrates fined Allen £110 and ordered her to pay court costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.