Drug user stole from employers

A SHOP worker abused her position as assistant manager at an East Devon store by making refunds to herself, a court heard.

A SHOP worker abused her position as assistant manager at an East Devon store by making refunds to herself, a court heard.

Anna Victoria Beck, of Manstone Avenue, Sidmouth, pleaded guilty to six offences at Central Devon Magistrates' Court last Friday, February 19.

The charges included four offences of making cash refunds to herself, totalling �329, while she worked as assistant manager at Pets at Home between May 7 and June 26 last year.

Beck also faced a charge of stealing �60 cash from Countrywide, based at Heathpark in Honiton, on September 13 last year, and being found in the possession of amphetamine, a class B drug, two days later.

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Karen Ball, prosecuting, said the loss of earnings prevention officer at Pets at Home discovered the money had gone missing. An internal investigation was carried out. Ms Ball told the court that CCTV footage was checked and showed Beck was making a number of refunds to herself.

"While questioned by police, a sweet wrapper was taken from inside her coat.

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"Amphetamine was found inside the wrapper. She admitted that the drug was for her personal use," said Ms Ball.

The defence solicitor said Beck had an "ex-boyfriend who then became her boyfriend again, who was an amphetamine user".

The court heard Beck took the money from the stores to buy amphetamine; she was often bullied by the boyfriend and at one point became subjected to domestic violence.

"The man at whose hands she suffered is no longer in her life," said the defence solicitor.

"She is at the beginning of a new life and has not used amphetamine since September when she was referred to the Exeter Drugs Project."

Chairman of the bench Paul Farmer said her behaviour reflected she was on drugs.

"The offence of stealing money from a store was a breach of trust," he said.

Mr Farmer added that an EDP report showed Beck had been making progress.

"Because of the serious nature of this offence, it would have been thought a community order would have been appropriate but I acknowledge you've been doing things with EDP."

Beck was handed a conditional discharge for 12 months.

She was ordered to pay a total of �410 compensation - �350 to Pets at Home and �60 to Countrywide.

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