Three sisters have been jailed after spending more than £62,000 using stolen till receipts.
Sarah Burdon, 40, Lynsey Burdon 36, and Emmiline Burdon, 29, were among four women who have been dubbed The Pussy Cat Molls, after they used stolen receipts and card numbers to pay for goods and get illicit refunds paid into their accounts.
The women targeted a wealthy area known as the Golden Triangle, defrauding a number of hotels, spas, shops and restaurants across Knutsford and Alderly Edge to get free meals, beauty treatments and designer clothing.
They also managed to get their hands on many other items, including power tools, high performance car parts, motorcycles and motorcycle accessories.
The women stole till merchant receipts from the restaurants, spas and hotels before heading off to luxury stores to buy items using the payment details from the stolen receipts. While they kept some of the items they had fraudulently purchased, they would return some of the items and request a refund, before putting in their own payment card so the money would be placed into their personal accounts.
However, not even the lockdown and closure of shops managed to stop their spending spree, as the sisters then started targeting off-licences and petrol stations, where they purchased large quantities of alcohol and cigarettes along with hundreds of pounds worth of Lottery tickets.
Police identifed more than 150 fraudulent transactions at various locations across the North West, Yorkshire and Leicestershire between October 2019 and May 2020, with losses totalling more than £62,000.
They were finally arrested in May after a team of 50 police officers raided their homes in North Manchester and seized an Audi car, motorcycle clothing, two electric scooters, designer watches and clothing, furniture, and a quantity of cash.
At Chester Crown Court, the sisters all admitted conspiracy to defraud. Sarah, who also goes by the name of Leanne, was jailed for 18 weeks, while Lynsey was sentenced to two years and two months. Emmiline also admitted driving while disqualified, and was jailed for 28 months. Their friend, Sonia Malhi, 37, also admitted conspiracy but will be sentenced at a later date.
Detective Constable Claire Heatley from Cheshire Police said after the case:
The sentences handed to these women reflects the severity of the crimes that they committed. Over an eight-month period they systematically siphoned more than £45,000 from the accounts of innocent members of the public by purchasing items using stolen account details.
They even had the audacity claim refunds of a number of these items and had the money put into their own personal accounts. This resulted in the group receiving more than £16,000.
Detective Heatley added:
Thankfully, their illegal spending spree has been stopped and they are all now facing the consequences of their actions.
The three sisters were able to be jailed thanks to a highly complex investigation across several different police forces, with their crimes taking place in stores across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Derbyshire.
Detective Sergeant Paul Kay, from Merseyside Police’s Economic Crime Team, wanted to remind people that these types of crimes are not victimless, as they caused huge losses to the stores that were targeted.
The women will face a Proceeds of Crime hearing later in the year.
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