Doncaster woman falls victim to thief who targeted horse events

Charmaine McAllister was jailed for four years and eight months and banned from every equestrian event in England and Wales.

Charmaine McAllister was jailed for four years and eight months and banned from every equestrian event in England and Wales.

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A Doncaster woman has fallen victim to a prolific sneak thief described as a ‘plague to the whole horse industry’ by a judge.

Mum-of-two Charmaine McAllister was jailed for four years and eight months and banned from every equestrian event in England and Wales.

She targeted village horse shows and stole handbags and purses from unattended horse boxes while female riders were competing.

She then used stolen bank cards, driving licences and store cards to withdraw cash and bought a Land Rover, clothes and a computer.

Brazen McAllister even rang the victims and pretended to be a police officer or a bank worker to get further information to raid their accounts.

Women hoping to buy riding saddles were also targeted by the horse-loving fraudster – who advertised items and took payment but never dispatched the goods.

Although only 28 and married with two young sons, McAllister has previously been jailed ten times and has clocked up 163 convictions for fraud and theft since 2002, mainly linked to horse shows.

She appeared for sentence at Sheffield Crown Court after admitting 45 fraud and theft offences across five counties. She netted £46,562 in total over 18 months.

One of her victims was Stephanie Fells, who had £20 cash, banks cards and her driving licence stolen when McAllister stole her purse from a horse box at Moorhouse Equestrian Centre, Hooton Pagnell, near Doncaster.

McAllister then went to the HSBC Bank in Doncaster and transferred £635 to her own account and spent £262 on goods at Dorothy Perkins and New Look.

When arrested McAllister, of Rydall Drive, Huddersfield but formerly from Lincolnshire, said she used the cash to pay her rent and buy clothes.

Judge Peter Kelson told her: “You were a plague to equestrian events. You were a plague to the whole horse industry.”

A psychiatrist who compiled a report for the defence said McAllister suffered from an ‘impulse control disorder.’

But Judge Kelson told her: “You are a just a deep-seated thief. You don’t care about the impact on your victims or your own family.”

McAllister, when living in Wiltshire, was given a two-year jail term in January this year, suspended for two years at Winchester Crown Court.

Judge Kelson jailed her for 32 months and activated the whole of the suspended sentence consecutively, making it a 56-month jail sentence in total. He also ordered McAllister to pay £1060 towards prosecution costs and told her: “You are a serious criminal and a menace to all things equestrian.”