Northern Ireland Asda worker's £11k scratch card theft
A WOMAN who stole thousands of lottery scratch cards has walked free from court after she paid all the money back.
Irina Telford was caught on CCTV stealing the cards from Asda while working at the supermarket chain's Dundonald store.
Telford was suspected of stealing up to £11,000 worth of cards but she appeared in court accused of stealing cards to the value of "£3,300 or thereabouts". The 54-year-old's job included scanning the scratch cards and putting them on display.
Telford appeared at Newtownards Magistrates Court last week to be sentenced for a charge of theft by an employee which she had earlier admitted. It was not said at the hearing whether Telford had won cash on any of the thousands of cards she nicked.
A prosecuting lawyer told the court how stock audit figures for the scratch cards "were usually £1,000 up or down" but that cops were alerted when significant discrepancies were uncovered.
On checking CCTV footage, it transpired that Telford had been lifting a quantity of scratch cards from eight deliveries, putting some for sale on display but pocketing thousands of others.
Telford, from Enler Park East in Dundonald, had pleaded guilty to a single count of theft of scratch cards on September 22, 2017, and had been due for sentence a year ago but that was deferred to allow her time to pay back what she stole.
Defence counsel Peter Coiley said the outstanding £3,300 has now been paid back, submitting that while she was remorseful, the 12 months the case had been hanging over her head has been "very stressful" for her.
Imposing a four-month jail sentence but suspending it for two years, District Judge Mark Hamill said Telford had "no one to blame but herself" for being in court, and described the offences as a breach of trust case.