Gemma Rose, 14 Jessfield Place, Bo’ness, took the money over the course of a year. The 33-year-old, who embezzled it 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 taking £21,608.73 from the Main Street store’s cash office between May 2019-June 2020.
A colleague noticed 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: “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.”
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 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.”