Retford: Tanning shop duo face jail for ‘abhorrent’ thefts

Two tanning shop staff who stole hundreds of pounds of stock from their employer and sold it on to line their own pockets are facing jail.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 5th March 2014, 5:00 pm
Worksop Magistrates Court
Worksop Magistrates Court

Callum Sherry, 21, of Grove Lane, Retford, and Claire Saxton, 41, of Fulmar Way, Gateford, Worksop, admit theft from their employee between February and April last year.

The pair worked at Chocolate Banana, a tanning and slimming pills business on Randall Park Way.

Worksop magistrates heard how the pair had spent hours watching porn and shopping online when they were at work, while their boss Niki Brownson-Smith was out drumming up new business.

It was also revealed that Sherry had performed sex acts via his computer webcam at work.

Sherry twitched and fiddled with his hair in court, while Saxton hung her head in shame.

Ruth Snodin, prosecuting, read an emotional victim impact statement from Mrs Brownson-Smith.

“They have taken orders from customers, produced invoices then deleted them from the system before delivering the goods in person and taking the cash,” she said.

“The business began to run into trouble in 2012. I decided to get out and sell direct to salons but had to employ two people to man the shop.”

“They were my last hope. If I took them on and it didn’t work I would lose everything.”

But after taking Sherry and Saxton on, things didn’t improve. Mrs Brownson-Smith believed they had begun their illicit scheme as soon as four weeks into the job.

“Growth was slow and targets I gave them failed to materialise.”

“Saxton would regularly say she needed Thursdays off but I now know this was when she delivered the stolen stock to customers.”

She described the discovery of their betrayal as ‘soul destroying’, having classed Sherry in particular as a close friend and confidant.

“By Christmas 2012 I couldn’t pay the wages, I was behind with the office rent and had missed two mortgage payments.”

In the new year, despite urging staff to work hard and get things back on track, Mrs Brownson-Smith made the shocking discovery that the pair had been whiling away their work time browsing the Internet.

She said: “Inside I was dying because I could see everything slipping away.”

“I had to sell my car and Claire offered to loan me £3,000 to pay for a rental car. I couldn’t believe it and told her I couldn’t possibly take the money because it was for her children.”

“I have been left unable to trust people, my marriage has suffered, my reputation is in disrepair and my business is in liquidation.”

The court heard that police found texts between the pair arranging their covert deals and boasting about the money they were due to collect.

In police interview, Saxton had admitted to being around £8,000 in debt and having relationship problems.

Mrs Snodin said: “She said Callum wanted the money to buy drink and drugs.”

“She said the products were hidden in the office, bagged and hidden in a bin before being taken out to the car. All profits were split 50/50.”

“She said she was sorry about what she’d done and wanted to tell Niki what was happening but couldn’t afford to lose her job.”

The court heard she had a history of convictions for obtaining property by deception, conspiracy to defraud and shop theft.

Sherry initially told police he did not have anything to do with the scheme until the end, saying he only profited by £100 in total.

But when texts were found he conceded to deeper involvement.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until 20th March pending probation reports.

They told Sherry and Saxton that immediate prison terms was an option as punishment for the “abhorrent crimes”.