AN ASSISTANT manager at a high street bookies took advantage of a faulty gaming machine to cash in winning tickets worth almost £6,000, a court heard.
Stacey Jones, 25, of Penymynydd Road, Penymynydd, admitted a charge of theft and was told to pay back £5,694.65 she stole from her employers, William Hill bookmakers.
West Cheshire magistrates also sentenced her to a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.
The court heard that during a four month period from March to July, 2011 Jones, who worked at a branch on Frodsham Street, Chester, defrauded the bookmakers to pay off debts.
Debbie Byrne, prosecuting, said the bookmaker’s gaming machine data is taken from an electronic point of sale (EPOS) on each machine.
She said: “If a customer loses money, it is retained by the machine, but if they win, a payment slip is produced and scanned by staff to prevent the ticket being used to pay out more than once.
“A security analyst noticed that on 44 occasions between March and June 2011, a Frodsham Street machine had paid out winnings more than once, each transaction having been made by the defendant.
“She had been employed as an assistant manager and used the EPOS system to duplicate receipts as she knew the machine was not working properly.
“She was in debt and took advantage as she had no other way out.”
There was a formal internal investigation by the company and Jones was summarily dismissed.
It was a year before the company took the matter to the police, by which time Jones proved difficult to track down.
She was stopped by police at Manchester Airport on May 17 when she was due to fly out on a pre-booked family holiday.
Richard Simm, defending, said: “She concedes this is a serious offence and the police had difficulty getting hold of her during a period in which she suffered a number of bereavements.”
Jones was also told to pay £85 in court costs and a £60 surcharge.