A supervisor at Costcutters was jailed after stealing National Lottery scratchcards from her employers.
Gemma Francis began stealing scratchcards from a Costcutters in Winton, Dorset, since her employment with the chain started in December 2016.
The woman kept stealing continuously until December 2017, when she was caught on security camera. Francis has stolen scratchcards worth £21,480 in total and has claimed winnings of £11,780.
The 27-year-old pleaded guilty to theft by employee and theft when she appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court for sentence last Friday.
Prosecutor Stuart Ellacott said the scratchcards were provided by Camelot to Costcutters before being activated at lottery terminals. Surveillance footages showed the defendant pocketing packets of the cards and activating them by herself. The stolen scratchcards cost between £1 and £10 each.
The woman claimed her winnings at different shops and submitted scratchcards with substantial wins to the Post Office.
Francis’s crime was revealed when the Costcutters store she worked at was audited. According to Ellacott, the store manager approached the woman on New Year’s Day. She eventually admitted that she had been stealing scratchcards since she started working at Costcutters.
“She was asked why she had done this by the manager, but didn’t seem to quite know why. Her best answer was that she was saving for a new car.” described the prosecutor.
Francis has never been convicted before and has worked in retail and childcare since completing her studies. It is said that she had been held at knifepoint during a robbery.
Her parents, whom she lives with in Bournemouth, were shocked about her crime. Kevin Hill, mitigating, said Francis might have a problem with gambling.
“She refers to going to bingo a lot. It is something her father has been concerned about. She also uses the slot machines at the bingo.”said Hill.
Francis was sentenced to jail for 8 months. Camelot and Costcutters will be dividing her £1,500 savings as compensation.