Famous honey entrepreneur Gloria Havenhand snared a thieving employee by deploying undercover secret-shoppers in a sting operation at one of her stores.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Thursday, September 15, how the businesswoman caught shop assistant Diane Bradley stealing £231 from her Medibee shop, at Troway Hall Nursery, on Main Road, Troway, at Marsh Lane, near Eckington.
Prosecuting solicitor Robert Carr said Bradley had been employed by Medibee for seven years but the business had become concerned because takings had been showing a loss.
Mr Carr added: “They suspected an employee may have been taking cash from the shop so they arranged for secret shoppers to go to the store when Bradley was working. They paid for a number of items with three lots of cash over three different days and this cash had been photocopied but it did not later appear in the tills.”
Bradley, 58, of Moorland View, Apperknowle, pleaded guilty to stealing £110 on April 22, £51 on April 27 and £70 on April 29.
Defence solicitor John Wilford said Bradley is of previous good character but she did volunteer to the probation service that she had a caution for a shop theft in 1982.
Mr Wilford added that Bradley is remorseful about her behaviour.
The probation service also stated that Bradley had revealed that she had overspent on a new car and she had stolen the money to cover some of the costs.
District Judge Andrew Davison told Bradley: “These are very mean offences and they are a very clear and serious breach of trust.”
He added that Bradley’s victim empathy and remorse were too late given the impact on Mrs Havenhand, 72, and her business which has hives close to Chatsworth Estate and a shop in Bakewell.
District Judge Davison sentenced Bradley to 18 weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with 180 hours of unpaid work. She was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs and compensation.
Mrs Havenhand told the court she felt betrayed because Bradley had been befriended by the family business and the defendant had claimed she could be trusted.
The complainant said: “She betrayed our complete trust in a brazen manner and I have been hurt to the core.”