A woman stole thousands of pounds from the Lynn store she worked at in order to help her flee a violent partner, a court has heard.
B’riley Seekings, 22, of Hall Road, Clenchwarton, was sentenced to six weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty to theft during a hearing before Lynn’s magistrates yesterday.
The court heard that Seekings, who worked as a trainee section manager for Marks and Spencer, had begun taking money after transferring to its store in Lynn in July.
Soon afterwards, bosses began to notice discrepancies in takings and the situation came to a head on August 17, when £1,300 was taken from a petty cash tin.
A subsequent investigation found that 10 separate “no sale” incidents had been recorded against Seekings’ employee number, each worth between £400 and £1,000.
Seekings was suspended from her post when she admitted to the store’s manager that she had stolen the money and was dismissed after failing to attend a disciplinary hearing before being arrested.
Court papers took the total amount stolen at £6,500, although Charlotte Winchester, mitigating, said her client insisted she had not had access to the petty cash holdings.
She told the bench that Seekings had been the victim of domestic violence from her former partner and the attacks had escalated shortly after she began working at the Lynn branch, following a transfer from Peterborough.
She said: “She took the money as a way to get out of a violent relationship.
“She thought she would pay it back when she got her pay, but that didn’t happen and it spiralled from there.”
Ms Winchester said the money was used to fund rent and furnishings for a new home for her and her son, without her former partner.
And she stressed that the money had only been used to pay for essential household goods, rather than any luxury items.
She added: “She knows it was the wrong way to go but, at the time, she was desperate.”
The court was also told that Seekings had only recently begun to receive counselling for post-natal depression, while her new-born sister also had severe disabilities.
Seekings was ordered to pay £3,000 in compensation to the store, plus a £180 criminal courts charge and £85 costs.