A drug addict former college student who dropped out of a hairdressing course had mugged a woman at a cashpoint, a court heard on Wednesday.

Amy Louise Samuel, 28, of no fixed address, had snatched cash from a woman of 60 after “deliberately targeting a vulnerable victim,” the prosecution said at Llandudno magistrates’ court.

Jacqueline Sutcliffe, who’d been withdrawing £50 at Pensarn, Abergele, when Samuel grabbed her money in her hand, was pulled with such force it appeared she was going to fall. The money had been torn.

However, Samuel was charged only with theft on June 14 after the victim’s upsetting ordeal in broad daylight. She pleaded guilty to the offence and common assault on PC Peter Doran an emergency worker.

She was jailed for 26 weeks in all and the magistrates ordered that she pay £100 compensation to the PC on her release.

James Neary, prosecuting, said the policeman was passing a Co-op store when he noticed witnesses shouting to him. A man said Samuel had just mugged the victim.

Samuel had struggled with the officer and remarked: "I have got a pin, I will stab you.”

Mr Neary added that the theft involved the use or threat of force and some pre-planning.

A probation officer said the heroin and crack cocaine addict had been in rehab at Colwyn Bay but began misusing drugs again. Samuel said the theft was an “act of desperation” to get money to pay for somewhere to stay.

She spent most of her benefit cash on drugs.

Defence solicitor Carla Forfar insisted there wasn’t particular targeting of the victim. Samuel, from Oswestry, had enrolled on a college course but dropped out.

She very much regretted her behaviour. “It was desperation, it was impulsive. It was a very, very horrible incident,” the solicitor said. “She wants to break the cycle of drug use.”