A CARAVAN park receptionist who rifled through residents’ mail and stole more than £6,000 through a series of thefts and frauds has been jailed for 10 months.

One grieving widow told Lancashire Police how Samantha Dicicco had provided friendship and support after her husband’s death, Burnley Crown Court heard.


All the while, Dicicco had been systematically going through people’s letters, at the Forest of Pendle Leisure Park, and using their bank card details to order luxuries from Selfridge’s, Marks and Spencer, and River Island.

She even opened a credit card in the name of her worst victim, Marlene Freethy, who lost out in the sum of just under £4,900, the court was told.

Later, Mrs Freethy, who was married to the late Lancashire Telegraph wildlife columnist Ron Freethy, told police how the whole episode had “shaken her confidence” as she had trusted Dicicco.

Lisa Worsley, prosecuting, said the defendant was caught out after another resident at the Roughlee park, Sheila Kapowski, became concerned when she had not received an expected replacement cash card from Yorkshire Bank.

When she received a bank statement, she saw a purchase, totalling £141, had been made from Selfridge’s.

Another neighbour, Margaret Seel, had also been expecting a replacement bank card, which never arrived.

She later found a number of fraudulent purchases had been made using her account, for a variety of high-end stores, totalling nearly £740.

Miss Worsley said Dicicco also opened up a Simply Be account, in the name of another resident, Clarice Ashworth, before racking up a number of purchases.

An estimated £6,105 had been taken from the four women and investigators later traced the purchases to a computer address at the caravan park.

Dicicco was questioned but initially made no comment to police.

Later, the 26-year-old, of Beech Tree Close, Nelson, would pleaded guilty to theft and fraud offences. She has previous convictions for stealing using her grandmother’s catalogue account and thefts using her best friend’s identity to establish online shopping profiles.

Jailing her, Judge Beverley Lunt said she had been trusted by the owners of the caravan park, and more importantly the residents, to manage their post.

Referring to Mrs Freethy, the judge added: “You set yourself up as a friend of hers, when all the time you were stealing from her.”

Miss Nash, defending, told the court her client suffered from endometriosis, at a relatively early age, and had suffered a number of problems emotionally since then.

She accepted the anguish that her offending must have caused to the victims, the court heard.