Tamworth woman fined for 'blinging' her electronic tag
A TAMWORTH woman ordered to wear an electronic tag must fork out £140 to the courts – after 'blinging' the item with fake diamonds.
Rebecca Gallanagh, aged 22, has hit out at the justice system for wasting time and money after she appeared before Burton Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (February 5).
She had used nail glue to attach dozens of diamante diamonds to the strap of the tag, even spelling out her initials.
But prosecutors from company Serco Home Affairs, who fitted the equipment, argued that decorating the item – which was attached to her ankle – "compromised the integrity" of it.
Present this voucher at the till to claim 15% Off your total shopping bill!
Terms: This excludes Fresh christmas trees and wreaths and any other discounted/ reduced or multibuy offer already in place. St Giles hospice card CANNOT be used with this voucher
Contact: 01827 219963
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
And magistrates told the Stonydelph resident during a 20-minute hearing that she had committed a "very serious offence".
The former Torc School student was handed a £35 fine, reduced from £55 due to her early guilty plea, along with £85 court costs and a £20 victim support surcharge.
Speaking after her court appearance, Rebecca told the Herald that the matter had been taken too far.
She said: "It's petty. I wouldn't have wasted my time doing it if I knew I was going to be fined for it.
"It's a waste of time and money. There are all these people who go out and breach their orders and then they [prosecute] me for decorating a tag, it's just not right.
"I was actually proud of decorating the tag at the time. I wanted to make it look nice while I had it strapped to me around the house, it was a personal thing.
"[Serco] say I damaged the tag but I didn't – I didn't touch the sensor, it was still working and I was being monitored. When they removed the strap they told me they were going to throw it away anyway."
It was only when Rebecca moved from Kettlebrook Road to Lintly, in Stonydelph, that staff from Serco discovered the decorated tag. Due to her change in address, staff had to replace the old tag with a new one.
"A lady said she had to report it for being decorated," she said.
"She cut the tag off with scissors and then put it in her bag.
"I thought nothing of it until I got a letter from the court last week."
Rebecca was fitted with the monitoring equipment on November 15 for committing a public order offence after fighting outside Bullit nightclub last year.
She was put under a strict curfew order, where she was required to stay at her home address between the hours of 9pm and 7am for three months.
She had to give up her job as a bar assistant at Strykers Bowl, which she hopes to return to.
The new tag was removed at 9pm on Tuesday – the day she appeared before magistrates.
And Rebecca claims it was staff from Serco who told her she would be able to decorate the item.
"The lady who fitted the item said she saw a girl from [Channel 4 TV show] My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding who had "blinged" her tag, and she said I could do that. I saw pictures of it online and checked the leaflet, and nowhere did it say I couldn't decorate it," she added.
Mum April Gallanagh, aged 48, said: "It's pathetic. Once her tag was replaced she didn't decorate it again as she had learned her lesson."
Mark Moore, who represented Rebecca in court, said: "This is a young girl who was coming up to Christmas – there were opportunities where she was out and about and she was trying to make the tag look nice."
Prosecutors for Serco said that decorating the strap "could affect the device" – but admitted that there had been no other breach of Rebecca's curfew order.
The Herald contacted Serco for a comment after the case, but they were unable to provide a response before the Herald's deadline.