Supervisor at South Shields Tesco stole £15,000 to pay back loan sharks

The Tesco store at Simonside.
The Tesco store at Simonside.
  • Woman stole after developing gambling addiction
  • Stayed off work the day after theft
  • Case sent to crown court for sentencing

A STORE supervisor stole thousands of pounds of takings from the South Tyneside supermarket where she worked to pay back loan sharks.

Joan Allan fell into debt after she developed an online gambling addiction, and magistrates were told she stole the cash just months after telling her bosses she didn’t want to be put in charge of handling money.

She had access to large amounts of cash - a high level of trust must have been placed in her

Prosecutor Justin Gibson

Allan was captured on CCTV taking more than £15,000 from the cash office of the Tesco store, in Simonside, South Shields, before leaving the store.

Her crime was discovered the next day when staff viewed the footage after she didn’t turn up for work, and also noticed a large amount of money missing from the safe.

She was subsequently dismissed by the firm.

When the 57-year-old was arrested, police were able to recover only £2,455 of the stolen cash.

Allan, of Clovelly Place, Jarrow, pleaded to guilty to a charge of theft by an employee at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Justin Gibson, prosecuting, said: “On Monday, January 19, she was in the cash office processing the takings for the day.

“She put cash notes – which totalled £15,725 – in a red bag and talked to staff before leaving the store still with the red bag with the money inside.

“The theft was discovered the next day when she didn’t turn up for work, and staff noticed a large amount of cash missing from the safe.

“When she was asked if she knew she would be seen on CCTV, she said she did and would’ve handed herself into police.

“The crown would say that working within the cash office she had access to large amounts of cash – a high level of trust must have been placed in her.

Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “She had worked at the store for 17 years, from the bottom to the top.

“She became a supervisor and was told she would have to work in the cash office for one day a week.

“She fought and fought against this decision. She said she didn’t want to be put in charge of the money. She begged them not to put her there but they said no.

“The reason for this was because – five years ago – she had an injury which meant she was off work for 14 months.

“During this time she became involved in playing slot machines online and developed an addiction.

“She borrowed £5,500 from loan sharks just to feed that addiction, with the figure she owed accumulating to £12,000.

“They wanted the money back and threatened her and her family, and to damage their property.

“She had been working in the cash office for about three or four months when there was one removal of cash to pay off the loan sharks.

“When you look at the position of trust she was in, you have to assess her desire not to be in that position of trust.”

Yvonne Cracknell, chairman of the magistrates, said the matter was so serious that it could only be dealt with at the crown court.

Allan was granted unconditional bail until her hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on a date in the week commencing April 6.

Tesco declined to comment on the case.

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris