A clothes shop employee who stole more than £25,000 from her employers to fund her cannabis addiction has today been jailed for 16 months. Leestashia Campbell, 25, asked two friends to buy clothes at heavily discounted prices from the Banana Republic flagship store in Regent Street, central London, where she worked. Her friends then returned the clothes, which she refunded at the full price to their credit cards. She carried out the scam six times between October 2011 and February 2012, raiding £25,778 from the clothing store. Campbell recruited her first accomplice, known only as Rachel, at the local hairdressers and they targeted the shop three times. When Rachel stopped helping, Campbell roped in another friend from college who continued with the thefts. Campbell was caught out when colleagues queried a suspicious refund of £1,300 on February 8 this year. CCTV footage showed Campbell issued the repayment and subsequent checks revealed previous suspicious transactions, including one for more than £10,000.
Prosecutor Peter Zinner said Campbell was initially stunned when told she had managed to steal more than £25,000. ‘She admitted refunding the money to people she knew, but was surprised when it was put to her the amount accumulated’, he said. Ms Tagon said Campbell is the main carer for her mother, who has been diagnosed with lung disease, and was stealing to try to help her family financially. She urged the judge to pass a suspended jail sentence, even offering £7,000 repayment to Banana Republic and promising £400 a month until the stolen money had been repaid. But jailing Campbell for 16 months Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said: ‘They trusted you, and then over a period of about four months you effectively stole from them, again and again. ‘It is not just a question of you stealing from your employers, breaching the trust they put in you, but you involved – no doubt willingly – two friends of yours. ‘You came up with the idea of doing refunds back to credit cards, as you had been a Banana Republic for a couple of years and you thought you could pull it off.’ The judge said the crime was too serious for him to not pass a prison sentence. ‘You were the insider’, he told her. ‘I can’t in these circumstances accede to the submissions that the sentence can be so low as 12 months which would allow it to be suspended.’ Campbell, of Norbury, south London, was jailed for 16 months after admitting six counts of fraud.
via : Daily Mail
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