A CRIME victim has hit out after a thief was ordered to pay her £260 compensation for stealing her £540 phone.

Nicola Eaton was left puzzled by the court decision which left her with only half the phone’s value – and no phone.

Mrs Eaton will only get the money back in payments stretching over two years.

Angela Kingston, 35, from Essex Close, Rayleigh, pleaded guilty to stealing Mrs Eaton’s iPhone.

She took the mobile from a bag as Mrs Eaton helped a child who had fallen over and cut her head at Fun Factory in Purdeys Way, Rochford, on April 26.

Kingston was sentenced at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Monday, to a 12-month community order with supervision, and ordered to attend a programme designed to reduce reoffending called “Thinking Skills”.

This means she will need to keep appointments with the Probation Service or could face further court action.

She was ordered to pay £260 compensation to Mrs Eaton even though the phone was worth £540 and has never been found.

After the hearing Mrs Eaton, 42, of Gatscombe Close, Hockley, said: “I’m just glad she has had some punishment.

It was hard to see her in court. I don’t know how someone could have done something like that.

“I’m going to get £260 over the course of two years and not get my phone back which is a bit less than what I would have got if I’d sold it in the condition it was in. It does seem like a bit of a slap on the wrist for a crime like that, but three weeks ago I didn’t think anyone would get caught for it so in that respect I’m happy.

“I think it was a disgusting thing to do. It would have been bad enough if someone was going to get a cup of tea and she had done it, but I was helping a bleeding child."