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Barking mum stole nearly £3,000 from Romford Co-op

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 12 September 2018

Bell had been working at the Co-op store in Rose Lane since 2016. Photo: Jon Super/Co-op/PA Archive/PA Images

Bell had been working at the Co-op store in Rose Lane since 2016. Photo: Jon Super/Co-op/PA Archive/PA Images

Jon Super/Co-op/PA Archive/PA Images

The mother-of-one was caught on CCTV pocketing the money.

The Co-op store in Rose Lane, Romford. Photo: Google MapsThe Co-op store in Rose Lane, Romford. Photo: Google Maps

A mother who stole nearly £3,000 from the till of a Romford Co-op has been made to pay it all back.

Sophie Bell, 22, of Shipwright Court in Barking was caught on CCTV after she had been putting the money through as winning lottery pay outs before pocketing it for herself.

Shop assistant Bell took in total £2,860 out of the till at the store in Rose Lane, between Wednesday, March 21 and Friday, April 13.

Barkingside Magistrates Court heard yesterday (September 11) that this was only a month after her elder sister - described as being ‘her rock’ - had decided to take her own life.

In a meeting with her store manager, Bell admitted to taking the money and offered to pay back the full amount, however because of the high amount the store decided that the matter had to be dealt with by the courts.

The mother of one had no previous convictions and her defence, Mr Ernest Adawa, said that these thefts were ‘completely out of character’ for her.

Mr Adawa said: “She fully regrets what she has done.

“She won’t be appearing before the court again.

“She did offer to give all the money back.

“She is on benefits and has a son to look after.”

Bell started work at the store in 2016 but had to take sick leave because she suffered with pancreatitis.

She returned to work after spending three months in hospital - in which her defence said she nearly died three times.

Her probation officer said that two weeks after she returned to work her sister committed suicide.

Following this she was given two weeks of compassionate leave, and then after this she committed her first theft.

Speaking in court the officer said: “Although it was painful she still came to work, but did think about leaving, and she did try to seek alternative employment.

“She saw her job as respite.

“She said that she doesn’t know why she took the money.

“She wasn’t in any money difficulties.

“She wasn’t paying attention to how much money she was taking.

“She spent the money as and when. It is not something she can describe.

“She would spend it on something to make her feel better, but that didn’t last long and then she was back to square one again.

“She did show genuine remorse.

“She didn’t think of the consequences of this at all.

“Since the death of her sister her family have fallen apart.”

Chair Mrs Shamin Govani said what Bell had done was a “big breach of trust” and that she must pay back all of the money that she stole from the store, along with costs and a victim surcharge of £170. In total having to pay £2,930.

A community order was also given to Bell, who must complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity in the next 12 months.

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