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Shopworker stole £5,000 from town fashion store

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: September 04, 2012

A WOMAN stole thousands of pounds while working for a clothes shop in Tiverton.

Suzanne Hutchings, 50, of Exe Vale Terrace, Tiverton, amassed £5,485 in false refunds from M&Co branches in Fore Street and in Sidmouth.

The offences were carried out while she held both sales assistant and management positions between June 2010 and May this year.

Sonia Oldakowska, prosecuting, told Exeter Magistrates' Court how Hutchings made dozens of refunds by using customer receipts and other employee staff numbers.

She was expected to safeguard and not act against the financial interests of M&Co and dishonestly abused her position for personal gain, the prosecutor said.

Jennifer Stetson, defending, reminded magistrates that they had the powers to deal with the case themselves, and Hutchings will be sentenced on September 21.

Mrs Stetson said Hutchings was a first-time offender, and should be given full credit for her early guilty plea.

She added: "Miss Hutchings has very substantial personal mitigation.

"She is unwell and that is something you probably would want to consider and talk to her GP about and ask for an adjournment for a full report."

Full details of her state of health were not given in court.

The chairman of the bench told Hutchings an all-options report would be drawn up so that magistrates could consider the most suitable punishment for the offence.

She said: "No doubt you have been through this with your solicitor so I hope you will understand what is happening. Basically, on the face of it, we think it is suitable for the magistrates' court so we are going to say you must come back here on September 21 at noon.

"What we are going to do is ask probation to write us a report and they will do that by asking you to have an interview with them, hopefully in depth, and it is in your interest to co-operate fully and tell them as much as you can as they can help us determine what the most appropriate sentence is for the offence.

"We are going to ask for an all-options report as we want to look at all of the options to see what we think, but that will be up to the bench."

A spokesman for M&Co said the company did not wish to comment.

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