Cleaner admits stealing tobacco worth thousands from King's Lynn shop
A cleaner working in a Tesco store in Lynn stole more than £6,500 worth of tobacco products over a period of almost a year.
Anselmo Ferreira, 43, was employed by a sub-contractor and worked in the Wootton Road branch during the early hours, Lynn magistrates heard today.
Victoria Bastock, prosecuting, told the court the case came to light when the store manager noticed "a gap in the stock levels of tobacco products" in the middle of December.
She said: "He reviewed CCTV which showed the defendant selecting and concealing tobacco products. This was between August last year through to January this year."
After his arrest, Ferreira initially said he had only stolen on a couple of occasions but when challenged with the CCTV evidence he admitted to it being several times since February last year and accepted it amounted to £6,639 of goods.
Miss Bastock said: "The defendant was described as being very remorseful. He said he did it to fund a drug habit. He had no money at the time and stole the tobacco in order to sell it."
The court was told that the impact on the business included the morale of the store staff suffering due to the suspicion between them.
Ferreira, of South Everard Street, Lynn, admitted to a single charge of theft by employee between February 1, 2018 and January 11, 2019.
Mitigating, solicitor Andrew Cogan said it was "inevitable" that the thefts would come to light.
He said: "You can't go around nicking six thousand pounds worth of tobacco and expect that not to be noticed.
"He has lost his good name as a result of this and he hasn't kept his job either."
Mr Cogan said the value of the loss to Tesco would trouble the court, adding: "Tobacco prices these days mean that it's not going to be a large amount of stock but that is not to excuse the offence.
"Tesco should, perhaps, have spotted the loss a whole lot earlier. We've heard how the business has changed its operations - that's because clearly they weren't good enough beforehand so there's an element to this of them being the author of their own misfortune."
Ferreira was sentenced to 200 hours' unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,000 compensation to Tesco.