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A lollipop lady has appeared at Wrexham Magistrates Court this week
Deborah Jones, 47, was found scrubbing her hands "red raw" in a vain attempt to clean them at Gwersyllt Community Primary School, Wrexham, a court heard.
Jones, who also worked as a cleaner and kitchen assistant at the school, tried to snatch a purse belonging to Nicola Hughes from a changing room.
But she panicked when she realised the purse, and the handbag it was in, were covered with black anti-vandal paint.
Several staff members had reported items going missing or being mislaid over an 18-month period, the court heard.
Ms Hughes said she entered the changing room open and saw Jones leaving with a "panicked" look on her face, saying she needed the toilet.
She followed her into the bathroom where she saw her washing and scrubbing her hands "frantically" and there was also residue from the paint in the sink.
The lollipop lady was caught red-handed trying to steal a purse smeared with anti-vandal paint
After reporting the incident to the school's headteacher, the police were called and Jones denied all knowledge of the attempted theft, until it was pointed out to her by PC Richard Waites that her hands were "red raw" from repeatedly scrubbing.
The woman late told the officer she was responsible.
Jones of Gwersyllt, Wrexham appeared at Wrexham Magistrates Court this week where she admitted theft.
Jones of Gwersyllt, Wrexham appeared at Wrexham Magistrates Court where she admitted theft
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Helen Hall prosecuting added said when Jones was interviewed by police in October last year she said she was "unsure" of what had happened, despite admitting having black paint on her hands.
Ms Hall said in the 18 months before the incident, several staff members had reported items going missing or being mislaid leading to Ms Hughes suspecting a member of staff was responsible.
Thomas Sherrington, defending, said Jones had experienced "a horrendous road traffic accident resulting in her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder ever since".
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She was left with a broken leg after she was struck by a car while on duty as a lollipop lady outside the school in September 2014.
Jones had no previous convictions and had acted "out of character," her solicitor added.
"She has been plagued by this condition and this may explain why she committed this crime which was not in tune with her previous life," he said.
"She is not a lady who has plagued the judiciary before and she says this will be the last time she does. She has suffered a great deal and accepts she is here because of her own actions, but this was an opportunistic mistake based on a period of her life when she was suffering a great deal.
"This conviction will be on her record and she will struggle to gain employment."
Ordering Jones to pay a total of £492, including a £162 fine, magistrate Philip Jones told her: "This is an attempted theft against your work colleagues done in a school, which does not look good for you. I hope you are utterly remorseful."