A SUPERMARKET worker who used fraudulent gift cards to steal from her employer has escaped a jail term.

Angela Clarkson, 56, scanned barcodes and made false refunds at Asda on Rawreth Lane, Rayleigh, before using the gift cards to purchase food.

Over a six-month period she stole £1,454 as well as taking CDs and DVDs for Christmas presents.

The thefts began in August last year after a colleague showed Clarkson, of May Avenue, Canvey, how to create the dodgy gift cards.

Basildon Crown Court heard that whilst Asda supermarkets generally lose about £8,000 each year through loss of stock, the Rayleigh branch lost £29,000 in 2011.

Jessica Russell-Mitra, defending Arthur, said: “She is a lady of limited education who left school at 16 with four GCSEs, and has been in low level but steady work ever since then. The scam is highly sophisticated and one which she could never have dreamt up herself. Mrs Clarkson is aware of how serious her actions were and is remorseful for taking part and giving in to temptation.

“The money wasn’t being used to fund a luxury lifestyle, she was in a financial crisis.”

Clarkson used the scam to pay for her weekly shop after her husband lost his job as a lorry driver and the couple struggled to pay their rent and bills on her £800 a month wages.

Her husband believed that she was getting a discount on Christmas gifts and has since left her after finding out that she in fact stole the items
Clarkson has been given a 12 month community order after admitting ten counts of fraud by false representation between August and December last year, as well as three thefts of unknown value on December 18 and 21.

Addressing Clarkson at her sentencing, Recorder Elroy Claxton said: “Your actions were dishonest and your involvement would have continued if it hadn’t been for the quick-thinking of your bosses at Asda.

“You clearly breached the position of trust you were given. The offences are very serious and were carried out over a period of time.”