Next manager stole £6k in cash after turning off CCTV camera

Fashion retailer Next's Martlesham Heath store

Katherine Allen previously worked at two Next stores, including the Martlesham shop - Credit: Google Maps

A Next manager who stole £6,000 in cash from her employer after turning off a CCTV camera to avoid getting caught has been handed a suspended sentence. 

Katherine Allen, 26, worked as a manager at Next stores on Suffolk Retail Park in Ipswich and Beardmore Park, Martlesham, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

The thefts, which happened between October 2018 and September 2019, represented "a significant breach of trust", Lynne Shirley, prosecuting, told the court. 

The court heard how after irregularities were discovered by Next, Allen was called in for an internal interview on September 22, 2019. 

Allen made some admissions to Next bosses, telling them that she took £1,000 in cash on two occasions, Ms Shirley said. 

Anthony Down was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Katherine Allen was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

When she was asked how she bypassed the CCTV, as the incidents should have been captured by the system, Allen admitted she had disabled the camera to take money from the safe.

Allen was arrested on October 22, 2019, and exhibits seized from her home included letters relating to debts and unpaid sums, Ms Shirley said. 

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She was interviewed by police on June 5, 2020, and provided a prepared statement and did not answer questions, the court heard. 

In a victim impact statement, Next said the theft was damaging for the brand and its employees. 

The company said Allen should have been "a role model" but let colleagues and the retailer down. 

Ms Shirley said: "In short, it was a significant breach of trust."

The court heard that Allen was of previous good character. 

Steven Dyble, mitigating, said Allen, a mother-of-one, comes from a good family and the theft was "very much out of character". 

He said: "She came under the influence of a boyfriend who placed a certain degree of pressure on her to take the money."

Mr Dyble added that Allen was under the impression the money would be paid back. 

Allen, of Wherstead Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to a single count of theft on Monday, and her basis of plea was accepted. 

She denied two further counts of concealing criminal property and possession of cannabis and those pleas were also accepted by prosecutors. 

Recorder Jeremy Benson QC sentenced Allen to four months' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. 

She must also complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days. 

The court heard that it has been agreed that £6,000 will be paid back to Next within 28 days.