Post Office employee stole giros worth £5k
POST office worker Karen Barker stole £5,800 from her branch – and then tried to shift the blame onto her employer.
The 47-year-old, pictured, worked full-time for Beverley Drive Post Office, in Bentilee, and had responsibility for social security cheques, known as 'green giros', Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
But in June 2010 postmistress Annette Booth was told £5,800 worth of the giros were missing.
Prosecutor Tariq Shaqoor said: "The defendant was responsible for the administration of the green giros.
Ruark HiFi - for lovers of good music and fantastic sound
Headphone offer is our own offer as test for these vouchers - so don't delay offer expires 25/05/13
Only with this voucher, choose a set of headphones up to 10% of the units price or add some to it if you want a dearer set
ie Unit for £300 would give you £30 towards headphones of your choice
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Saturday, May 25 2013
"She was asked about them and said her employer must have sent them off with the rest of the paperwork."
Mrs Booth was told she would have to repay the £5,800.
She asked for an investigation to be undertaken and an audit was carried out in September 2010.
Mr Shaqoor said: "Barker's computer showed a pattern where the defendant would enter payments, often in the sum of £400, and reverse the payments to cover up any money paid out."
Between April 26 and May 29, 2010, 94 payments were made, 67 payments were made back in the system and there was a shortfall of 27 payments totalling £5,800.
Barker was suspended on September 15, 2010 and was arrested on September 29.
She denied any dishonesty. She accepted she had recently been to America for two weeks and even suggested the postmistress must be responsible for the shortfall.
She maintained that account in a later interview and then suggested some of the reversals might be a mistake.
Barker, of Dawlish Drive, Bentilee, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to theft ahead of her trial last month.
Anis Ali, mitigating, said Barker had lost her good name, good character and employment.
But he said the defendant had the chance of securing a new job which would allow her to redress her wrongdoing.
Mr Ali said Barker had been affected by the proceedings.
"She does regret her involvement in this enterprise," added Mr Ali.
Judge Granville Styler said the offence was aggravated because Barker put suspicion on Mrs Booth for stealing the money and the length of time over which her offending took place.
He told Barker: "This matter clearly crosses the custody threshold because you were in a position of trust but having regard to your previous good character I propose to suspend the inevitable sentence."
Barker was sentenced to five months in prison, suspended for two years, with 250 hours unpaid work.