A PENSIONER stole almost £15,000 by fraudulently applying for credit and goods using false names and documentation.

Carol Smith told police on her arrest that companies “make so much [in] interest it does not matter anyway”.

The 66-year-old took out credit with Five Lamps, a charitable organisation based on Teesside, and also bought items from Perfect Home, which specialises in selling furniture and appliances on credit.

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Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Nigel Soppitt said she also took out telephone contracts with T Mobile and Vodafone, bought a car from Direct Sales, a car showroom in Thornaby, and took out a loan with the company Loans 2 Go.

Smith, of Birkdale Drive, Middlesbrough, used a variety of false documents including passports and birth certificates along with false names, including that of a former partner.

Mr Soppitt said it had showed planning and sophistication.

The pensioner admitted 12 counts of fraud by false representation and asked for four others charges to be taken into account.

Victoria Lambelle, mitigating, said Smith had a “compulsion to spend” which she claimed was a side effect of medication she had been on.

She said Smith had spent three months in custody at Low Newton, a women’s prison in Durham, not an experience she wished to repeat.

Ms Lambelle said the defendant had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and faced losing a tenancy in managed accommodation should she be immediately jailed.

Judge Tony Briggs said the frauds were quite disgraceful and went on for a long time.

But he said he could just avoid immediate prison with Smith receiving a 14 month jail sentence, suspended for two years, and a two-year supervision order.