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Aberdeen woman on trial over pensioner 'fraud'

Bank card Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cheryl Mitchell is alleged to have stolen bank details to purchase goods and services online

A woman has gone on trial accused of posing as a gas and electricity worker and a council official to scam pensioners out of more than £57,000.

Cheryl Mitchell, of Aberdeen, faces 27 charges relating to fraud alleged to have been committed over a seven-year period.

The 35-year-old is claimed to have gained the trust of pensioners at their doorstep then stolen their bank card or financial details to use online.

Ms Mitchell denies all the charges.

In one of the cases, she allegedly persuaded a 69-year-old that he was not entitled to his state pension because he had too much money in his bank account.

Prosecutors claim she took him to a Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Aberdeen and induced him to withdraw cash giving her £13,000.

Fraud flag

She is said to have informed him that the money had gone into a Post Office account in his name when she had allegedly taken the money herself.

One of the alleged victims, Iris Gordon, of Aberdeen, was one of the first witnesses to give evidence at the trial.

The 76-year-old told the court she was contacted by staff from the Clydesdale Bank who stated that her account may have flagged up signs of fraud.

Ms Gordon told the court that she relied on two friends to do her shopping for her but had always given them cash and had never handed over her bank card.

But she told the court that she had a visit from a woman who took her card and returned with it a few days later.

'Self assured'

She said: "She came to my door and said she could change my electric account to her one which was the Hydro board.

"She said she could get me a better deal than the company I was with.

"I would get a smaller electric bill."

The pensioner said the woman seemed "very self assured" when she visited her.

She added: "I think I gave her my bank card to get this change done.

"She came back to give me my card back. But then we discovered when I got my statement that she had used it to make several purchases."

Ms Mitchell is also accused of fraudulently obtaining more than £56,000 of tax credits when stating she was the lone mother of eight children instead of two between 2013 and 2016.

The trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court continues.

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