The manager of a Co-op supermarket pocketed more than £33,000 from the store over a 20-month period, a court heard
Jacqueline Lloyd was responsible for the weekly banking and used her knowledge of the system to steal the money to help her pay off massive debts.
Her crimes were discovered when Co-op investigators spotted that more and more money appeared to be being held in the store’s safe.
When she was quizzed she didn’t respond, so her bosses visited the store – and when they looked in the safe it was empty. She was immediately suspended and police were called in.
At first she tried to claim that anyone at the store could have taken the money, which meant other employees had to be questioned.
But she eventually owned up and it emerged she had got herself into serious debt following the break up of her marriage.
She had started taking out payday loans with massive interest rates to try and ease her problems, but they only made things worse.
Lloyd, 50, of Marlins Turn, Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to one charge of theft covering a period from September 2009 up until May last year.
The court heard that she became manager of the grocery chain’s Bovingdon store in September 2008. It was calculated that she had taken a total of £33,240.
Rob Ward, for Lloyd, admitted there had been a serious breach of trust. She had been with the Co-op for 15 years, working her way up to store manager. She was now facing prison and “frankly terrified.”
Judge Martin Griffith sentenced Lloyd, now a £900 a month care assistant, to 16 months jail suspended for 12 months and placed her on supervision for a year. She was also told to perform 125 hours of unpaid work.
Investigations are to be carried out into a £30,000 pension fund Lloyd built up during her time with the Co op to see if it can be used to pay compensation to the company.