Discount store checkout worker got hooked on barcode scam

PUBLISHED: 16:30 02 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:22 05 November 2020

Home Bargains at Suffolk Retail Park, Ipswich  Picture: ARCHANT

Home Bargains at Suffolk Retail Park, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT


A checkout operator became hooked on stealing household goods after mis-scanning a barcode while working on the till at Home Bargains in Ipswich.

Demi Hart had a spotless criminal record before being convicted of stealing hundreds of pounds worth of items from the Suffolk Retail Park store earlier this year.

Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard how the shop assistant deliberately mis-scanned items selected from the shelves by her partner, Ben Gorman, on 10 separate occasions.

Hart, 26, and Gorman, 32, both of Bramford Road, each admitted 10 counts of theft – in Hart’s case, by an employee – at an earlier hearing on September 30.

Gorman was handed 60 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order and told to repay half the value of items stolen over the course of 17 days.

Hart returned to court on Monday following a pre-sentence report by the probation service.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett told the court: “The defendant was employed by Home Bargains on the checkouts.

“An arrangement was made whereby her partner selected a number of items, which she would pass through the scanner with the barcode covered, preventing most items from registering on the till.

“This was a clear breach of trust.”

Mr Ablett said Hart was immediately sacked after a store supervisor discovered the scam and alerted the manager but not before £464.13 of items were stolen on six days between January 19 and February 5.

Lyndon Davies, mitigating, said Hart candidly accepted the offences and was very remorseful, adding: “In her first week at Home Bargains, her partner bought items and got home to notice one hadn’t been scanned or paid for.

“Unfortunately, Miss Hart made the decision that, on the next occasion, she would do it deliberately.

“She then became a little bit addicted stealing things for the family home as a way of helping with financial struggles. These were not luxury items.”

Hart was handed a 12-month community order, with up to 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement, fined £50 and told to repay Home Bargains £232.06.

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