A Sheffield grandmother, who stole more than £8,000 from the convenience store she worked at through faking customer returns, has narrowly escaped jail time.
Patricia Budd, of Jaunty Avenue, Base Green had been a trusted and respected employee at the Co-Operative store in Jaunty Way, Base Green for around eight years when she started stealing from the company in 2014.
During a sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court today, the court was told how Budd's stealing went unnoticed for almost two years until it was picked up on my management in November last year.
The 60-year-old managed to steal a total of £8,191 from the store during that time through voiding products customers had legitimately bought through the tills, and keeping the value of each item.
Prosecuting, Carl Fitch, said: "The store manager, Mrs Neil, had it brought to her attention that there was a high number of what is known as 'line-voids' going through the defendant's till.
"As a result, the company decided to monitor the defendant between November 7 and November 24, 2016; and when company records were checked it was clear she had completed line-voids to the value of £800.
"She was monitored by the store's CCTV and that showed her not giving the items back."
Mr Fitch told the court how following this Budd was ordered to attend a disciplinary hearing in December last year, when she told them she 'had been stealing money from them for years'.
Defending, Sean Fritchley, said Budd began stealing from the company when she and her husband were 'struggling financially' due to him having a low-paid job and her not realising the level of interest she would be required to pay for a pay-day loan she had taken out.
He said: "She tells me that the money wasn't spent on anything lavish, they weren't taking flash holidays or anything like that, the money was spent on paying the bills.
"She tells me that she simply decided to take the money that she owed the pay-day loan people and became stuck and saw it as her only way out.
"She's gravely ashamed and made full and frank admission of guilty in police interview."
Mr Fritchley added that Budd was relied upon by her children to babysit her grandchildren, and that a prison term would affect the whole family.
Budd, who was jailed for stealing from her employer in 1973 and who was convicted of claiming benefits by false representation in 1984 and 1999, admitted to the offence at an earlier hearing.
Recorder Fiona Davies sentenced Budd to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered her to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.
She said: "I have come to the conclusion that given your age and other mitigating factors I can just avoid sending you immediately to prison."
"I make no order for costs in the circumstances."