A MUM-of-three fraudulently used her grandfather's Argos store card as he battled in hospital to recover from a stroke.

At Carlisle's Rickergate Magistrates' Court, Rebecca Elizabeth Low, 28, admitted a single offence of fraud by false representation - by using her grandfather's Argos store card to buy goods worth more than £1,700.

She was given a suspended prison term.

Low committed the offence over eight days in 2017, said prosecutor John Moran.

The lawyer explained how a few months before she used the store card, the victim suffered a severe stroke.

It left him with no speech and limited mobility.

Mr Moran said: "While he was in hospital there were a number of transactions with his Argos store card."

On September 12 that year, the card was used to buy a Playstation 4 at a cost of £296, and a laptop computer worth £419.

In total, the amount Low spent fraudulently was £1,736.

"Suspicion fell on the granddaughter because prior to his hospitalisation she had helped him with his finances," continued Mr Moran.

"Initially, she denied any responsibility."

But after she was presented with further evidence of her wrongdoing she admitted what she had done, accepting that she had used her grandfather's store card.

The defendant claimed she committed the offence so she could pay off debts incurred by her then partner but there was evidence which cast doubt on that claim, said Mr Moran.

For one of her purchases, he said, she paid extra to arrange three years of breakdown cover.

"That wasn't the action of somebody who was just buying it to sell on," added Mr Moran.

In 2007, the defendant was given two reprimands for shoplifting but there were no previous convictions.

Sean Harkin, for Low, of Great Orton, near Carlisle, said: "She felt under pressure to commit these offences due to the position her partner put her in."

The lawyer said the now ex-partner had a drugs debt and Low felt under pressure to act.

He added: "She made the rather foolish decision to commit the offence and now she is thoroughly ashamed of herself and apologises - not just to the court but also to the victim. She has no previous convictions and should be treated as a woman of good character."

Magistrates agreed to suspend the 18 week jail term they imposed for two years.

In addition, Low must observe a 7pm to 7am curfew for the next nine weeks, and pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.