Shop worker stole £850 of scratch cards to help pay off debt

Mansfield Magistrates Court
Mansfield Magistrates Court

A newsagent worker stole £850 worth of scratch cards to help pay off a mounting debt, a court was told.

Jessica Mitchell, 24, worked at Select and Save on Shireoaks Row, Shireoaks, when she was caught stealing the lucrative gambling cards.

Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard how the management at the shop became suspicious when the cards began going missing between February and May this year.

Mitchell, of Leeds Road, Shireoaks, had been keeping the cash from the winning cards and discarded the others.

Marjorie Kirkham-Smith, for the Crown Prosecution Service, read out a statement on behalf of the manager of the shop who felt the thefts may have been going on for longer and more than £850 worth could have been taken.

However, the court was told how Mitchell had racked up more than £4,000 worth of debt, partly due to a controlling ex boyfriend.

In mitigation, solicitor Michael Little said her former partner had moved in with her and she was forced to keep both of them.

He said: “Things started spiralling out of control, they got a credit card and the debt started mounting up.

“She started borrowing money initially, and that became more and more.”

He said that the money was eventually only paying off the interest so she began to go to greater lengths by stealing from the shop.

She was sacked immediately when she was caught.

The court was told that she had since ended the relationship, had got a new job and her grandmother had paid off her debt, to whom Mitchell was now paying back.

District Judge Tim Spruce told her: “It’s clear you have reflected on what has happened and have shown remorse, but it’s a serious offence and involved a breach of trust.”

He gave her a community order with 100 hours unpaid work and made her pay £850 in compensation to the shop.