Store deputy 'suspected' jewellery scam

THE deputy manager of a jewellery store has described how she became suspicious that her boss was stealing money after discovering a number of faulty refund slips for returned items.

THE deputy manager of a jewellery store has described how she became suspicious that her boss was stealing money after discovering a number of faulty refund slips for returned items.

Jennifer Lloyd gave evidence yesterday at the trial of Alison Lock, who is alleged to have stolen more than £3,000 from Warren James, in Ipswich.

Mrs Lloyd, who had worked at the store for nearly four years before leaving in September 2005, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that she first had concerns in the autumn of 2004 when she found a customer return slip underneath the till that had been processed with her initials on it even though she had been on a tea break at the time the transaction allegedly took place.

She said it was company policy that when a customer returned a faulty item or requested a refund. a return slip would be filled out which would have to be singed by the manager and countersigned by another member of staff.


You may also want to watch:


If faulty the returned jewellery would then be placed in a box in a side room that was monitored by CCTV so a record could be made of the items that had been brought back.

Mrs Lloyd said her suspicions were further alerted when she discovered other slips that had been signed by Lock and supposedly countersigned by members of staff that were not working on the day in question.

Most Read

She also said there were a number of times when signatures appeared to have been forged and on occasions someone had logged on to the computer system and used her initials to process transactions even though she was not there that day.

She told prosecuting counsel Andrew Shaw: “When I first became suspicious I went to check the returns box and discovered that a rag doll pendant was missing that should have been in there. I did find a few items that should have been there but weren't.”

Under cross examination from defence counsel Jonathan Goodman, Mrs Lloyd admitted that stock-takes during the time Lock is alleged to have committed the offences did not show huge discrepancies.

She also said that refund slips could be left for hours before they were signed by a second party and it was a matter of trust as to whether that slip was correct.

The court had previously heard how Lock, 33, of Kildare Avenue, Ipswich, allegedly stole sums of money ranging from £56 to £469 on 30 occasions during a three month period after she became manageress of the Warren James store in August 2004.

It has been claimed that she falsified customer returns and then took money for refunds from the shop till and kept it for herself.

Lock has denied 30 offences of theft involving more than £3,400.

After her arrest, Lock acknowledged that her signature was on the majority of the allegedly false customer return forms but could not give an explanation.

The trial continues.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter