A POLICE civilian staff member broke the law when she used a police computer, York Magistrates’ Court heard.

Victoria Dias, 45, was working in North Yorkshire Police victim support unit at Athena House, Clifton Moor, at the time.

District judge Adrian Lower said as part of her job, she was permitted access to sensitive and confidential information through a police computer.

But on June 9, 2015, she had used her access to read information she was not entitled to, and had done so after reading a warning on the computer screen not to go beyond what she was entitled to do.

Her solicitor Sarah Guttman said she had been concerned that someone close to her, who had been the victim of a crime, was not receiving the support she thought they should, and so she had used the computer to find out why, seen something that surprised her, and had investigated further.

Dias, of York Road, Haxby, pleaded guilty to using a computer to gain unauthorised access to information held on a computer.

She was given a 12-month community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and an £85 statutory surcharge.

The district judge told her: “I am sure you are ashamed of yourself. I am sure there will be no repetition of this offence.”

Miss Guttman said Dias had devoted her life to helping others in trouble or disadvantaged. She had resigned after the police force discovered her unauthorised computer use and now worked as a mental health advocate, helping people with their rights. She had already worked in youth clubs and in children’s services.