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Friday, 27 March 2015

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Cumbrian store manager stole shop’s £6,700

A gambling addict stole more than £6,700 from the shop she managed.

Helen Louise Birkett, who spent hundreds of pounds a week on scratch cards and the Lottery, took the money from Simply Food and Drinks in Whitehaven.

But Carlisle Crown Court was told Birkett, 48, was found out by a security boss at the firm.

Birkett, of Strand Street, Maryport, was spared an immediate jail term, receiving a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.

She admitted stealing £6,789 between January and October last year.

Joe Allman, prosecuting, said a security boss visited the Whitehaven branch of the store, where Birkett was manager. They noticed discrepancies and challenged Birkett.

“The defendant said she had borrowed money which she intended to take back,” said Mr Allman.

The court heard money was taken in £100 and £200 sums. Birkett said it spiralled out of control and referred to debts.

Marion Weir, in mitigation, said it was linked to a significant gambling addiction.

“It had always been her intention to pay the money back,” she told the court.

“She is deeply ashamed of her behaviour.”

Birkett had paid back £100 directly and £2,000 had been withheld from her wages, the court heard.

Judge Paul Batty QC, passing sentence, said: “It is perfectly clear to me you have a severe gambling addiction and that is at the root of your offending.”

Birkett was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work for the community and stick to a 9pm to 6am curfew for four months.

She was told to pay back the rest of the amount stolen in compensation.


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