Ipswich: Co-op worker spared jail after he stole £4,000 from his Ravenswood store

The East of England Co-op foodstore at Ravenswood, Ipswich

The East of England Co-op foodstore at Ravenswood, Ipswich

A shop worker who stole £4,000 from the Ipswich Co-op store where he worked has been spared jail.

Paul Buffrey, of Damselfly Road, Ipswich, was given a 12-month community order by Ipswich magistrates after admitting theft by employee between August 28 and October 11.

Prosecutor Nicola Leppard told the court the 20-year-old had been working at the East of England Co-op store in Ravenswood on a part-time basis during the summer.

Staff at the shop began to notice the cash coming through the tills was down. A significant amount of money appeared to have been lost, but no errors were found with the system.

An inquiry began and CCTV in the store was used to find the culprit.

As a result Buffrey, a sales assistant, was seen to take a large amount of cash from a till and put it in his pocket. When confronted he admitted he had taken money, but thought it was around £3,050. In reality the amount he stole totalled £4015.77, the court heard.

Mrs Leppard said Buffrey explained that he had stolen the cash because he needed the money to help support a removal business he had bought a stake in.

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In addition his mother was unwell and he needed cash to be able to look after her.

Craig Marchant, representing Buffrey, said the primary reason the money was taken was not to prop up the removal business.

Magistrates were told Buffrey lived at the family home and was the healthiest person out of his mother, father, sister and brother.

Mr Marchant said his client felt a responsibility to take his mother – who has Crohn’s disease, to hospital to seen his father who has heart problems.

Buffrey also tries to take the pressure off his parents by getting their medication.

His family’s circumstances were said to be a reason why he had taken some of the money.

Referring to the amount Buffrey had stolen Mr Marchant said: “It seems to have been something that just spiralled out of control.”

Buffrey was ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to the Co-op and to do 150 hours unpaid work.