A supermarket cashier fraudulently used gift cards in a sophisticated scheme to steal more than £14,000 from the Leamington store over a two-year period.
But dishonest Louisa Mann escaped being jailed when she appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to theft from Asda in breach of trust.
Mann, 38, of Fuchsia Drive, Whitnash, Leamington, was given a 20-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC, who told her she was ‘very lucky’ not receive an immediate sentence, also ordered her to take part in a rehabilitation activity for 15 days.
Prosecutor Cathlyn Orchard said that Mann had worked as a cashier at the Asda store in Chesterton Drive, Leamington, for some time.
But earlier this year it was discovered that she had been using her access to the tills to fraudulently top up the amounts on Asda gift cards.
Further enquiries revealed she had also been putting through false refunds to the cards using old receipts and clothing tags she had picked up in the store.
Mann then used the cards in the store to buy food, drink and gifts, as well as some luxury items, said Miss Orchard.
And she added that Mann, who had no previous convictions, had used that method to steal items worth a total of £14,309 over a period of about two years.
Referring to a pre-sentence report, Ian Speed, defending, said: “The report has addressed every issue I was going to raise in mitigation.
“This woman of previous good character turned to criminality in despair, and has now lost the respect of her family and her friends, and has lost her good name.”
And he submitted that Mann, who is married with a young child, could be dealt with by a suspended sentence.
Sentencing Mann, Judge Lockhart told her she was ‘a thief,’ and that her offence had ‘an element of sophistication’ to it.
He said the breach of trust meant there was a high degree of culpability and, having said he would suspend the sentence, he added: “You are very lucky.”