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Ipswich travel agent worker admits stealing money from her employer

PUBLISHED: 08:23 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 08:34 16 February 2017

Benefit cheat overclaimed £12,000

Benefit cheat overclaimed £12,000

An Ipswich travel shop worker stole money from her employer to pay the rent on the house she shared, a court heard.

Lucy Read, of Roseberry Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court to stealing an unknown amount of cash from the Co-op between July 15 and December 19.

The court heard the Co-op estimates the 32-year-old stole around £2,000.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said Read was employed by Co-op Travel as a travel consultant.

The business became concerned about the accounts when Read was on duty.

It installed a covert camera which captured Read carrying out a theft of money on November 25.

No customers were present at the time and it involved her purchasing Euros.

The amount of the loss during that incident was £258.18, the court was told.

However, Mr Ablett said following that a further number of discrepancies were found.

When confronted Read admitted she had stolen money over a period of about six months.

Police were called in to investigate.

During Read’s police interview she said she worked at the travel agency since October 2014 arranging holidays and carrying out foreign currency transactions.

Asked why she had committed the thefts Read told an officer she shared a house with someone who was made redundant and was financially stretched as a result.

Read had falsified names and addresses of fictitious customers. After making up a person’s name she would then take the cash.

Magistrates were told Read believed the total value of the thefts was between £800 and £900.

Mark Holt, representing Read, said his client accepted making nine or 10 false transactions.

He added: “It seemed very much sooner or later she was always going to be found out.”

Read lost her job as a result of her dishonesty, handing in her resignation at the time of a formal interview by Co-op staff.

She is currently unemployed, the court heard.

After temporarily adjourning the matter for a pre-sentence report, magistrates sentenced Read to a 12-month community order. She must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work as part of the order.

In addition Read was ordered to pay £85 costs as well as £85 to the victims’ fund.

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