AN ASDA checkout operator and her son stole more than £12,000 of goods from the supermarket in a scam which involved him sneaking shopping through her till.
Julie and Dean Veale were caught on CCTV carrying out the ruse after staff became suspicious when stock checks showed bottles of perfume had gone missing.
The security team discovered she was only scanning a fraction of the items – including toys, perfume and household goods – being carried through by her son.
The pair, both of Spindle Tree Court in Pinehurst, carried out the scam between February and December last year until they were caught in the act.
They pleaded guilty at Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday to two counts of thefts each, totalling £11,200 and £1,600 respectively. Keith Ballinger, prosecuting, said: “The allegations of theft offences came to light when a security officer at ASDA was informed by a colleague in relation to perfume appearing to go missing from the shelves. They were aware that perfume had repeatedly gone missing because they had done a stock check. As a result he commenced checks of CCTV.”
Dean Veale was seen on CCTV taking a trolley-load of goods to his mother’s till on December 20 and placing the items on the conveyor belt, where she only scanned a small amount.
Mr Ballinger said: “He was followed from the store and duly brought back in and detained in the security office. His mother, Mrs Veale, was also spoken to by staff and detained.
“Police were subsequently called and commenced to review the CCTV footage.”
Footage was reviewed from the days Julie Veale had worked at the store in West Swindon.
One recording showed her son load up a trolley of between 30 and 50 items, including toys, drinks, clothes and household items – of which only about 20 were scanned.
CCTV footage was found of two further thefts involving similar amounts of goods.
Julie Veale, 57, said in police interview that she had worked for ASDA for more than 12 years but had started ‘skip scanning’ after finding difficulty making ends meet.
She told officers that she was “disgusted and ashamed” by what she had done, Mr Ballinger told the court. Her son, 31, said in interview that he sold the perfume and toys on for cash and apologised for his actions, saying he was “dreading” his mother losing her job. The amounts stolen by the pair, who had started taking food and toiletries before moving on to perfume and toys, were based on their admissions in interview.
Mark Glendenning, defending, said his clients had no previous convictions but began to steal after struggling with their finances, which included the son’s benefits being cut. They had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Mr Glendenning said: “It’s a sad situation which brings them here. Mrs Veale lost her job and is unlikely to get another job because of the nature of the conviction.”
Sentencing was adjourned until May 2 to allow the Probation Service to prepare reports.
Peter Wells, chairman of the bench, said: “These reports leave all sentencing options open to us.
“Obviously we have taken into account you are of previous good character and entered timely guilty pleas in these proceedings.”
An ASDA spokesman said: “We take incidents of shoplifting very seriously. We will always work with police and assist with their investigations.”