Published: 19:12, 07 September 2018
| Updated: 19:13, 07 September 2018
A shop worker who stole goods and cash worth £9,000 while working at TK Maxx has avoided jail.
Throughout her four years at TK Maxx in Maidstone, a court heard Jane Stockford took money from tills and refunded clothes she had stolen to gain the funds back.
The 47-year-old admitted one count of theft by employee and previously revealed it had become a compulsion to steal items she wanted while working.
Concerns were first raised about Stockford during an internal investigation by TK Maxx stores in Chatham and Maidstone.
Bosses discovered the former Tesco employee had refunded more returns without receipts than all of her colleagues.
The court heard she would place these clothes in a holding cupboard and collect them at end of the day.
Called in for an interview, the Gillingham resident admitted taking more than £9,000 in stock and cash during her four years at the store in St Peter’s Street.
Stockford had earlier declined a defence solicitor, but after the start of the sentencing hearing, she chose to accept one.
The court heard Stockford, who was tearful throughout her time in the courtroom, was convicted for theft by employee in 2009 while working at Tesco.
"Your employer trusted you to do the right thing and over the course of several years the trust was broken by you and for that you need to be punished" - Andrew Backway
Chairing the magistrates bench, Andrew Backway said: “Mrs Stockford, as we can tell by your demeanour, this is a sorry day for you, and we have looked at your offence and the breach of trust.
“Your employer trusted you to do the right thing and over the course of several years the trust was broken by you and for that you need to be punished.
“We have taken into account as soon as you were caught you admitted everything to anybody who asked and you have expressed remorse throughout.”
Stockford was handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
The court heard due to the nature of her offence, Stockford could not be trusted to carry out a community order in a charity shop.
In addition more strenuous tasks would be difficult due to shoulder and foot injuries.
She was ordered to repay £1,000 in compensation to TK Maxx, while Mr Backway waived all other court costs due to the size of compensation.
The compensation will be withdrawn from her monthly benefit allowance.
The magistrate also ordered that Stockford will complete 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirements.