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Teen mum admits stealing £1,339 from Debenhams in Bury St Edmunds to help fund her son's nursery place

A teenage mum struggling to make ends meet has admitted stealing more than £1,000 from a Bury St Edmunds department store to help fund her young son's nursery place.

On 40 separate occasions Natasha Siney, of McIntyre Walk, issued a refund to her own debit card at Debenhams in the arc shopping centre, where she worked as a sales assistant behind the John Richmond counter in the store.

Yesterday Suffolk Magistrates Court was told that, between January 12 and February 16, the 19 year old took £1,339 from the store by scanning stock from the store into the system and refunding the items to her card.

Debenhams in the arc shopping centre, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley
Debenhams in the arc shopping centre, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley

Lesla Small, prosecuting, told the court that when Siney was caught by store management she admitted taking the cash straight away.

Ms Small added Siney, in her police interview, made a full admission and said she used the money to support her son.

Ms Small told the court a remorseful Siney had told officers she was a single mum trying to go through college and felt like she couldn't ask her parents for assistance.

David Shipman, mitigating, said at the time she had 'succumbed to temptation' to take the money, a process he described as easy.

Mr Shipman told the court all it took was to push a button on the till which issued a refund without a receipt.

"There should have been some process in force whereby somebody in authority had to authorise a refund," he told the court.

Mr Shipman added she was living on 'cloud cuckoo land' and there was no way of this not being discovered. He said it was not a sophisticated crime and she was not thinking straight at the time.

The court was told the first Siney's parents knew of proceedings was when an envelope ended up on their floor, and her parents are now supporting her.

The Ipswich -based court was told she had repaid the amount she took from the department store. And she is now working every day but Wednesday as cleaner to support her son, who is now two years old, as well as continuing her college studies.

After eight minutes of deliberation, magistrate John Beamish fined her £602.

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