Former Tesco Copdock worker must sell her home to repay £240k she stole from supermarket giant in refund scam

Tesco Copdock, Ipswich, the site of a raid on Saturday
EADT 23.1.12
ES 23.1.12
ES 30.1.12

Tesco Copdock, Ipswich, the site of a raid on Saturday EADT 23.1.12 ES 23.1.12 ES 30.1.12

A Tesco worker who stole thousands of pounds from her employers will have to sell her home after a judge ordered her to pay back £240,000.

Tesco thief Julie Last

Tesco thief Julie Last - Credit: Archant

Julie Last, of Stamford Close, Ipswich, who worked at the supermarket giant’s Copdock store on the customer service desk, was jailed for 28 months in May last year for stealing £132,000 in a ten-year refund fiddle.

Last, 51, who is due to be released from her prison sentence in March, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court via a prison video link yesterday for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

During the hearing, the court heard Last’s benefit from her general criminal conduct was £264,304 and the available amount, including her equity in her home, was £240,309.

Judge David Goodin made a confiscation order in the sum of £240,309 and ordered that £132,535 of that amount should be paid as compensation to Tesco.

He ordered Last to pay the amount within three months or face a further two years in jail.

However, he acknowledged that as Last’s house needed to be sold she might need longer to pay the order and said she could apply for the period to be extended by a further three months.

Last year she pleaded guilty to three offences of theft by an employee and a money laundering charge.

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The court heard the mother-of-three was caught in November 2013 after security staff became suspicious and analysed CCTV footage.

Last was seen to take an item, scan it through the till, open the cash drawer and put her hand into it before removing something which she put up her sleeve.

She then went to another drawer containing brown envelopes and put her hand in and she was also seen on CCTV stealing an item of clothing.

Subsequent searches of lockers, Last’s home and her seven bank accounts unearthed 68 Tesco gift cards and money she had stolen dating back to 2004.

The court heard that even while on bail Last, who had worked at Tesco since 1998, used another stolen gift card to buy something in Stowmarket.

The court was told the money laundering charge included everything found in Last’s bank accounts which totalled £190,357.

At her sentencing hearing Joanne Eley for Last said her client had been the victim of domestic abuse during her offending.

Referring to Last’s arrest in 2013 Miss Eley said: m”That is when the dishonesty reached its highest point. She tells me at that stage she just wanted to get caught.

“She says she couldn’t stop herself so she wanted someone to stop her. This was an addiction she could not stop.”