A CHECKOUT woman who failed to scan items through the till for customers she liked scammed B&M out of £1,600.

Joanne Lockett, 46, let a friend have a £69.99 vacuum cleaner for free and gave herself store credit notes before managers finally got suspicious.

 Joanne Lockett has been given a 12-month community order after admitting fraud at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court

She was suspended on full pay before she admitted being guilty of fraud and apologised to the discount store.

The 46-year-old was this week handed a 12-month community order at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Her defence lawyer said Lockett found it difficult to say no to pals she wanted to help, reports the Stoke Sentinel.

Sentencing her, Recorder Martin Wasik told Lockett from Trent Vale: “It seems to me you got yourself in a most awful mess.

“It was against the background of someone who has not been dishonest before.

“It was a complete one-off, out of character offence.”

Lockett must complete 60 hours’ unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement for 20 days.

She has also been ordered to pay £480 compensation to B&M.

Her crime was exposed when a security officer at B&M carried out the inquiry into suspected theft on January 9 after concerns were raised over missing stock.

Prosecutor Douglas Lloyd told the court: “He looked at CCTV and conducted an audit of the till receipts.

"It appears over a period of time, from the middle of December to the start of January, she issued herself with credit notes and did not scan items belonging to customers she knew.”

It was estimated her crime spree cost the store a total of £1,661.31.

David Farley, mitigating, said: “Her friend was struggling and was desperate. It was more difficult to say no when she was put upon by people she liked and wanted to help,” he added.

“She knew it was wrong. It got out of control. She started issuing credit notes because they could be used at different stores.

“She was herself short of money at the time. This was not about making money. The money from the offending did not go to her.”

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Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4394545/b-and-m-checkout-woman-scammed-shop-1600-not-scanning-items/

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