Four women who ripped off a Bury St Edmunds supermarket where they worked have today been jailed.
The woman, were all employed at Asda in Western Way, and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from their employer.
Sentencing each to 10 months immediate imprisonment, Judge Rupert Overbury said that while the amount involved - estimated at a total of £2,000 - was small, it was important to send a warning to others considering starting a similar scam.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that Angelina Mosley, 38, Rachel Hassall, 38, Sally-Ann Sadler, 61, and Tracey Tate, 51, had been involved in ‘skip scanning’.
Lindsay Cox, prosecuting, said the women took their shopping to each others tills where the more expensive items were not passed over the scanner, resulting in a greatly reduced bill.
The type of items being waved through tills without payment included family sized packs of washing powder, joints of meat and childrens clothing.
Asda security staff became suspicious after seeing Hassall loading shopping back into her trolley from a till after realising that it was not being manned by one of her co-conspirators.
Hassall was seen to then go to a till where Tate was working, said Mr Cox.
Just days later Tate was observed holding a bunch of flowers selected by Hassell too high for the scanner.
When Hassell was challenged by a security officer, Hassell was found to have shopping worth £45.38p in her car for which she had paid just £2.93p.
The court heard that examination of CCTV recordings revealed the extent of the scam and all four women - who between them had 25 years service with Asda - were suspended before being arrested.
All the defendants admitted being involved in ‘skip scanning’, said Mr Cox.
Mosley, of Sycamore Road, Beck Row, Hassall, of Bradfield St George Road, Bradfield St Clare, Sadler, of Bridgeman Walk, Bury St Edmunds and Tate, of Culford pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from an employer between August 1 and October 5, 2015.
Joanne Eley, for Sadler, said her client was unable to fully explain why she became involved and said: “It just seemed to happen.”
Appearing for Mosley, Charles Myatt said she was remorseful and her part in the conspiracy had been for a limited period.
Darren Snow, representing Tate and Hassall said his clients could also not explain fully why they had gone along with the scam.
The offence had been out of character for both women. Tate was ‘embarassed, ashamed and humiliated’ while Hassall had said she was ‘distraught and remorseful’, Mr Snow told the court.
Sentencing the women, Judge Rupert Overbury told them: “The fact that this is a conspiracy, an agreement to carry out criminal acts, means that each of you bear responsibility for what occurred.”
Judge Overbury said: “This was organised theft from your employer who trusted you to carry out your daily duties honestly. You did not.
“If the sentence does not include an element of deterrent, all those working in the retail industry particularly on supermarket tills will be given a wholly inappropriate message that you can steal from your employer.”