Convenience store employee who stole £12k given suspended sentence

An employee stole £12,000 from a convenience store by voiding transactions just minutes after customers had paid.

Kerry Mowl, of Doug Smith Close, Newmarket, had worked for Ashley Stores, in High Street, Ashley, East Cambridgeshire, for nine years.

Crown court news

Crown court news

But when two new owners took over the store in July they became suspicious of the 44-year-old after noticing the number of ‘transaction voids’ on the office system seemed unusually high.

One of the owners then checked numerous other dates and noticed the void button had been used several times on most days for a variety of different transactions. On each day that he checked Mowl had been working.

Over the next few weeks he gathered evidence to prove that Mowl was taking money from the till. He made a note of when the void transactions had been made and cross checked them against the CCTV footage, enabling him to work out exactly how the money was being taken.

The joint owner estimated that £30 to £50 per day was being stolen by Mowl, who worked five days a week, and that she had been stealing money since November 2017.

Mowl would void the transactions before pocketing the cash and concealing the money under a notebook before taking that notebook to an area of the store with no CCTV.

In police interview Mowl admitted taking the cash and said she was struggling financially. She initially claimed she had stolen “about £1,000” but later agreed that £12,000 seemed accurate.

She explained in detail to officers how she was taking the money, which matched the exact method seen on the CCTV footage by the joint store owner.

At the end of the interview she apologised to the victims for what she had done and offered to pay the full amount back.

PC Mark Wootton, who investigated, said: “Mowl thought nothing of taking thousands of pounds from her employers over the course of more than 18 months.

“Her level of deceit towards her employers, who she must have seen on a daily basis, almost beggars belief and this was a huge breach of trust.”

Mowl pleaded guilty to a single charge of theft by employee at a previous hearing and her case was committed to Cambridge Crown Court for sentence.

She was sentenced yesterday (Wednesday) where she was handed an eight- month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. She was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay back the entirety of the money she stole by the end of November.