A greengrocer has spoken of the moment he caught a family friend and employee stealing hundreds of pounds of produce and cash from his shop.
Tom Jackson, 54, who was still reeling from losing his five-year-old grandson to cancer and his daughter to a seizure, had trusted Georgina Margerison to look after Applejacks on Berry Lane, Longridge.
But he became suspicious after returning early to the shop one day and seeing the takings were down, despite several customers having been in.
Shocking CCTV footage showed Margerison, known as Gina, blatantly giving her mum Sarah Taylor bagfuls of shopping that hadn’t been paid for.
Father-of-four Mr Jackson, who has been trading at the shop for nearly 20 years and runs it with his wife Gillian, said: “She had worked for me for three years and was a close family friend.
“She knew everything that had happened to us.
“She had been to every family do, even been on holiday with us. My family was devastated. I got back early one night. I paid her wages, and there should have been a £50 float. But there was only £29 in the till and I had taken £18 of that from customers.
“I checked the CCTV. It shows her put a tenner from a woman on the side, serve another person, then put in her pocket. My friend wired it up to the television so we could see what had gone on the rest of the day. At 9.30am she’s taking bags to her car that are not paid for, and at 11.30am is giving bags of shopping to her mum.”
The CCTV also showed bags of shopping being given to two other women - but those matters were not proceeded with.
Mr Jackson added: “We had to put prices up because we didn’t suspect it was a theft at all - we were struggling and couldn’t work out why. It sounds daft but we all look after different bits of the shop so we did not realise what was going on. I am due to receive £600 compensation back - but they are only paying it at £5 a week.”
Margerison, 26, of King Street, Longridge, also admitted theft of cash and produce, and was given a three-month curfew and ordered to pay £500 compensation.
Her mother, Taylor, 41, of Mardale Road, Longridge, admitted theft and was given a rehabilitation requirement, ordered to pay £100 compensation, a £180 court charge, a £60 surcharge and £85 costs. Both appeared before Blackburn Magistrates’ Court.