A THIEF stole more than £1,500 by selling concert tickets and hotel stays which she never provided.

Lauren Ditchfield, from Howley, offered tickets for gigs by the likes of Ed Sheeran and discounted rooms at the Village Hotel for sale over Facebook.

But the 28-year-old failed to supply the goods and pocketed the money in a swindle spanning a period of six months.

She was spared jail at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday, July 8, after admitting six counts of theft.

The court heard that Ditchfield, of Farrell Street, stole a total of £1,590 from six victims between March and September 2018.

One man alone lost £1,120, which he paid after being promised tickets for a host of concerts – none of which he received.

Another victim became Facebook friends with the defendant after they met at a house party, and paid £50 for a stay at the Village Hotel and £40 for entry to Cirque du Soleil via a bank transfer.

She was the only one of the six who received any sort of refund, being given back £50.

A statement read on behalf of another stated that she ‘felt silly’ after losing £140 paid for tickets to an Ed Sheeran gig.

Ditchfield provided one man with tickets to Disney on Ice, but when he later paid £90 for Walking with Dinosaurs passes he did not receive them.

She worked at the Village Hotel at the time, with two others paying £100 and £50 for vouchers which they never received.

One of the pair contacted the hotelier chain after he was left out of pocket, but was told he had been scammed and to inform the police.

Ditchfield lost her job as a result of her offending and is now a care worker in a residential home.

Defence barrister Bernice Campbell told the court: “This is an intelligent woman who has at this time of her life fallen foul of her insecurities.

“She wanted to be the go-to girl to get tickets from – she would buy the tickets from Ticketmaster and often made a loss on them, but she became popular and people wanted to speak to her as a result.

“Ms Ditchfield is a family girl who wants to move on from this – she agrees that she has done wrong and she wishes she hadn’t done what she did, and she is extremely willing to pay people back.”

Ditchfield, who has no previous convictions, could be seen crying in the dock as she was handed a two-year community order by judge Rachel Smith – including a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 200 hours of unpaid work.

She was also told to pay £1,540 in compensation within the next six months, plus a victim surcharge.

Sentencing, judge Smith said: “You took money from these people for tickets or hotel stays which you were not able to supply.

“It is perfectly clear that you have a number of well documented psychiatric conditions, and these contributed to your behaviour.

“I have regard to your remorse and I accept that it is genuine, and you have made offers of recompense to your victims.

“This combination of offences is so serious that the custodial threshold has been passed.

“But it seems to me that this is a case where it is not necessary to impose a custodial sentence upon you.

“If you do commit further offences you could find yourself resentenced, including by way of imprisonment.”