Co-op worker loses job and clean record after £1,173 cigarette theft

East of England Co-op Daily food store, in Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge. Picture: ARCHANT

East of England Co-op Daily food store, in Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A former Co-op employee lost his job and previous good character after confessing to stealing more than £1,000 worth of cigarettes from the store.

Paul Adams was reported to the police after being caught in the act on CCTV at the East of England Co-op Daily food store, in Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge, last month.

The 37-year-old immediately came clean and confessed to stealing £1,173 worth of cigarettes from his employer over the course of two-and-a-half months.

The charge related to a period from Christmas Day to March 8.

Adams, of Queens Avenue, Woodbridge, admitted theft by an employee at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, on Tuesday.

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Prosecutor Lesla Small called the offence a “clear breach of trust” between Adams and his employer.

John Hughes, mitigating, said the father-of-two had suffered from depression for six years, and that he had been under “considerable stress” over Christmas, but that he was “truly remorseful” for his actions.

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He said Adams had been significantly affected by the death of his mother, and more recently, by the death of a close friend.

“He took to taking cigarettes,” added Mr Hughes.

“He saw the cigarettes, took them and smoked them himself – he didn’t sell them on for financial gain.”

Mr Hughes said Adams had been in contact with police since admitting the offence, in order to make arrangements for repaying the amount he stole from the Co-op.

“He is a man of previous good character, who made full admissions at the earliest opportunity,” he added.

The court heard Adams was currently living with his father in Woodbridge.

Magistrates said the offence was serious enough to make Adams subject to a community order for the next 12 months.

He was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work within the duration of the order.

He must also pay back all of the £1,173 lost by the Co-op.

The compensation will be deducted from benefits being claimed by Adams following the loss of his job.

He was also told to pay £40 towards the cost of the prosecution and an £85 statutory surcharge towards victim support services.

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