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Woman bought ponies and cruises with customer cash

Janine Pickett

A woman who ran a letting business has been jailed for stealing £375,000 from customers.

Janine Pickett, of Gillingham, was handed a 32-month prison term at Dorchester Crown Court today for fraud by abuse of position.

The 46-year-old had pleaded guilty to the offence on 30 May 2014.

The court heard that Pickett plundered the money from the Shaftesbury office of Dorset Lettings which she ran under franchise. Between January 2010 and November 2013 she stole £375,000 of customer deposits and rental payments from bank accounts she managed.

Further investigations revealed that Pickett had altered documents including bank statements and financial audit records in an attempt to cover up the theft.

During her offending Pickett lived well above her means and financial records showed she had spent the stolen money on buying a number of Welsh ponies, one of which cost £7,000. She also took out a Hire Purchase Agreement for a new BMW and enjoyed a number of holidays, including trips to Florida, France and cruises around the Mediterranean.

Drawings released following sexual assault appeal

An artists' impression of a man wanted by police Credit: Dorset Police

Dorset Police have released two artists' impressions of a man who sexually assaulted a woman in Shaftesbury.

The woman in her 30s was attacked by the man at 11.15pm on Tuesday 11th February in the area of Nettlecombe but managed to fight the man off and escape.

Another drawing of a man people want to speak to following the sexual assault Credit: Dorset Police

The offender is described as 6ft tall and slim and was wearing work boots with a hood over his head.

Detective Constable Andy Marsh said: “Following the previous appeal for witnesses, I am now in a position to release two images of a man I wish to speak with.

“The images – derived from a full account by the victim – have been drawn by a specially trained artist. I strongly suspect the man to be local to the Shaftesbury area and I urge anybody who knows this person to come forward and speak with the police in confidence."

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60 pints of milk damaged and stolen outside day centre

Cartons of milk were damaged and stolen from a children's centre in Shaftesbury.

Twenty pints of milk were stolen from outside the main gates at the North Dorset Children's Centre in Wincombe Lane between 5am and 7:15am on Wednesday morning.

Another 40 cartons were pierced, causing them to leek onto the pavement and nearby road.

The trays were left at the entrance of the property for the pupils later that morning.

Constable Alistair James, of Shaftesbury police said, "This mindless act has left a vast number of children without milk and also caused the centre financial loss.

"This children's centre supports families in need and provides a fantastic service, and crimes like this have a big impact."

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