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A persistent thief from St Helens has been handed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) which bans her from entering Widnes or Warrington for the next four years.
Sharon Rooney, of Jubilee Crescent, Haydock, has committed a large number of theft offences in the Widnes, Warrington and St Helens areas, predominantly targeting elderly women at shops.
The 49-year-old was given a 16-month custodial sentence suspended for two years at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 17 April for her most recent offences.
They involved stealing purses and fraudulently using stolen bank cards.
Rooney admitted 13 counts of theft from a person and 30 counts of fraud.
On top of her suspended prison sentence, Rooney was ordered to adhere to rehabilitation order requirements, as well as the following restrictions imposed as part of the four-year CBO:
Sergeant Steve Owen, of the Halton Problem Solving Team at Cheshire Constabulary, said: “CBOs are preventative orders with strict requirements and prohibitions that are applied for separately to prosecutions for criminal offences.
“They are designed as a longer term attempt to stop persistent offenders committing further offences and are applied for and imposed as a last resort.
“Sharon Rooney certainly falls into the category of being a persistent offender, with her having an extensive list of theft convictions.
“Her offending has had a significant impact on members of the Widnes, Warrington and St Helens communities.
“Being the victim of theft and fraud offences is a deeply upsetting experience and there comes a point when you have to say enough is enough and take additional action in a bid to stop there being further victims.
“We will use whatever powers we have at our disposal to ensure that our towns are pleasant places to live, work and visit.
“The CBO bans Rooney from going to the places in which she has committed offences and prohibits her from being in possession of any bank cards that are not in her name.
“She has been made aware that it is an offence to breach the terms of a CBO.
“The sanctions imposed for breaching these orders can be severe, potentially up to five years in prison.
“I hope that the CBO has the desired effect on Rooney and deters her from committing further offences over the coming weeks, months and years, for her own sake and the sake of her family, as well as for the sake of people living in Cheshire and Merseyside.”
Anyone who encounters Rooney breaching the terms of her CBO over the next four years is asked to contact Cheshire Constabulary on 101 to report it.
Sgt Owen added: “It is worth noting that CBOs are issued in addition to a sentence set by a judge or magistrates and that the courts work within set guidelines and base their sentencing decisions on a number of factors.
“In order to successfully obtain a CBO the police has to present a large amount of evidence to the courts, who must be satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that the offender has engaged in behaviour that caused, or was likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to people and that making the order will help in preventing the offender from engaging in such behaviour.
“I am pleased to say that we have seen a significant reduction of offending in Cheshire in recent years from those who are subject to a CBO, resulting in less victims and reducing the demand on the police.”