A worker at a small supermarket stole more than £6,000 by pocketing money when customers paid with cash.
Chloe Jones, 26, was working behind the till at a Nisa store in Tredegar when she carried out the theft between February 23 and September 20, 2020.
She was caught after her manager Leanne Azerati noticed there was money missing from the till and when she added up the till records there were errors on at least two occasions.
The manager checked store CCTV and saw Jones had been voiding cash only sales on the till and pocketing the money.
When confronted by Ms Azerati the defendant admitted the theft and said: “I know you caught me because you hardly spoke to me last night. What am I going to do?”.
A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday heard Jones, of Alexandra Place, Rhymney, was dismissed immediately and was found to have stolen £6,452. She was arrested and later pleaded guilty to theft by an employee.
In mitigation defence barrister Thomas Stanway said his client had paid £400 back.
He said: “She was suffering with significant debts. She broke up with her partner in 2018 who was taking out mobile phone contracts in her name and cancelled those contracts when the relationship broke down and took the telephones.
“She was left with thousands of pounds of debts. She sought help from friends to repay that money and took out loans to repay that debt. They were high-interest loans and she was struggling to pay.
“The money taken from the till was to pay off the interest on those loans.
“She was suffering significantly with her mental health. Her mother passed away suddenly and this had a significant effect upon her.”
The court also heard Jones was working 13-hour days five days a week as a courier in order to pay off her loans.
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In her sentencing remarks Recorder Lucy Crowther said she would not be sending the defendant to prison.
She added: “You have had a tragic serious of events. You have done your best to repay that money and to repay those loans but you still have substantial debts.”
Jones was sentenced to a 12-month community order. She was also ordered to pay £6,000 compensation and to carry out a finance and debt rehabilitation activity requirement of six days.