Worker could not keep her hands off lottery scratch cards even though her husband managed the business
A manager of a garage in Port Talbot investigating money which had gone missing soon discovered that his own wife was the thief.
Ian Parkin found out his wife Karen had been trying to find winning Lottery scratch cards by systematically taking them from the stock of the Globe Garage in Porthcawl during her shifts behind the till.
Fortunately for Karen Parkin, 52, she was given a suspended jail sentence for the offence at Cardiff Crown Court as this was the first time she had been in trouble with the law.
Prosecutor Gareth James said her husband, who had been alerted to the loss by his accountants, maintained that a total of £23,000 had gone astray over a period of 12 months.
Karen was certain that as far as she could remember she had taken at the most 20 scratch cards.
This was each time she did a shift and accepted she may have stolen between £3,000 and £3,600 over a 12-month period.
She was ordered to pay back £400. As she and her husband were now living on benefits and looking for new jobs after her husband resigned from the 24/7 Express Store.
The discrepancies were initially noticed by proprietor Colin Owens, who then asked his manager to commence an investigation into the loss.
Obviously, when Parkin realised her involvement was about to be discovered, she confessed to her husband. Trying to save him the embarrassment of having to discover that it was her that was taking the lottery scratch cards.
Parkin then handed herself in at the police station, where she admitted she would take 20 Lottery cards at a time during her three to four shifts every week.
“At that time, she had accepted taking 300 scratch cards but later it was realised it could be substantially more than that,” Mr James told the court.
“At the end of her shift, she manipulated the figures and handed them to her husband who wouldn’t check because he trusted her. She said she did it for the thrill of taking the cards and also because she’d had a few traumatic years and had debts.”
Solicitor Rhodri Chudleigh said Parkin was left embarrassed and ashamed by the incident.
“She lost her job and her husband felt he had to resign too and both are now on employment support allowance,” he said.
“She has no previous convictions and at the time had recently lost her brother and then her father and was at a particularly low ebb.”
Judge Jonathan Furness QC told her: “It is a very sad day when you have come before the court for such an offence at your age and as a woman of clean character.
“You got caught up in the excitement of scratching cards and what started at just one or two, grew to 20 a day.
“You had the responsibility of balancing the books at the end of each day and this was a high degree of breach of trust.”