Bo'ness mum embezzled more than £21,000 from Tesco

A “struggling” mum embezzled more than £21,000 from a Bo’ness supermarket where she worked as a customer assistant.

By Herald Reporter
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:49 pm

Gemma Rose, 14 Jessfield Place, Bo’ness, took the five-figure sum from Tesco over the course of a year.

The 33-year-old, who embezzled the money after noticing cash in tills and a safe went unchecked by management, claimed she’d done so to feed, clothe and look after her three children and husband.

Rose appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court last Thursday, having admitted pocketing £21,608.73 from the Main Street store’s cash office between May 2019 and June 2020.

Gemma Rose appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to embezzling more than £21,000 from Tesco in Bo'ness. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The court was told she had been employed at the superstore for 16 years and moved into its cash office around six years ago.

A colleague noticed something was off while standing in for Rose when she went on holiday.

Rose told the witness they “wouldn’t need to touch” the self-service money pods as she’d filled them up, however, a subsequent check revealed these were short by £500.

Procurator fiscal depute Rebecca Reid said: “A short time later, the witness explained the problem to the accused, stating she believed she had made a mistake.

“The accused immediately attended at the store stating she knew exactly she she’d done. She then jumped on to the computer and did a couple of transactions before printing things off.

“She stated she had forgotten to update the system with a transaction which resulted in the cash being short. The accused thereafter left the office.

“The witness continued processing money pods in the tills and found the balances on screen were out by hundreds of pounds.

“The witness contacted the accused and put her on loud speaker. The accused stuttered her words and couldn’t explain what she had done within the office.”

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Rose was then caught out when her colleague started counting cash within the self-service tills, which were missing more than £12,000.

The fiscal depute continued: “A total of £12,238.73 was short from the tills, with the only explanation being that the money had been stolen.

“Due to all the circumstances, the witness instigated a full investigation, preparing a package and thereafter contacting police.

“The accused was cautioned and charged and made no reply. She was interviewed at the time and spoke freely throughout, fully admitting her guilt, stating she had been taking money from the main safe within the cash office since May 2019.

“She also admitted stealing thousands of pounds from the tills, stating she knew she could get away with this as none of the managers who were meant to be doing a safe count were doing them – same with the tills count.”

The fiscal depute said Rose conceded she’d embezzled the money as she was “struggling financially” and “didn’t think she could keep a house and her family going with the wages and benefits she received”.

Her defence solicitor said Rose intended to pay back the cash, however, the embezzlement “escalated”.

The lawyer added: “At the time this started, her husband had lost his job and her income had fallen.

“She took the wrong decision. She indicated she’s ashamed and accepts responsibility. She’s got no previous offending behaviours.”

Imprisoning Rose for nine months, Sheriff Christopher Shead said: “I’ve no hesitation the threshold has been crossed because of the seriousness of the offence.”

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