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Halfords employee paid more than £2,300 in refund transactions into his own bank account

Bury Magistrates Court ENGANL00120121025093615
Bury Magistrates Court ENGANL00120121025093615

A sales advisor at Halfords stole more than £2,300 from his employer by copying customer receipts and paying refunds into his own bank account .

Liam Crook, 23, of St Olaves Road, Bury St Edmunds, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Bury Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Prosecuting, Wayne Ablett said Crook had put through 70 unauthorised refund transactions over a four month period at the Bury store, between August and November 2015, to a total of £2384.40.

He said when the company conducted an audit of refunds in November a refund was found that had been made by a manager who was not on duty that day and that Crook was the only employee in the position to put the refund through.

“He was questioned by staff and management and made immediate admissions,” said Mr Ablett

“He had taken copies of customers’ receipts, kept the copy and them later refunded the receipt, paying the refund into one of three bank accounts.

“Over a four month period there were some 70 separate transactions carried out.”

The police were called and Crook was interviewed where he made a full admission.

“He said he was sorry for his actions and that he would pay the complete amount back to Halfords”, said Mr Ablett

In mitigation, Nick Jennaway said Crook had committed the fraud after getting into money troubles.

He said Crook had worked at Halfords at some point in the past but took a new job as a sales manager at DFS.

He said his client’s increase in pay started to be reflected in his lifestyle, including Crook taking out a finance agreement for a new car for £400 a month.

However, Crook didn’t get on with the new job and ‘realised it wasn’t for him’.

He said Crooks returned to Halfords as a sales advisor but, as a result, suffered a considerable decrease in pay.

“It was this event that led to these offences,” said Mr Jennaway.

He said as a result of his money troubles, Crook had changed his lifestyle.

Mr Jennaway said Crook was ‘incredibly apologetic.’

“He has lost his position at Halfords and is coming to terms with his personal and financial situation,” he said.

Crook was handed a 12 month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and was told to pay back compensation of £2384.42 to his former employer.

He was also made to pay court costs of £85 and a £60 victim surcharge.