A woman from Pembroke has narrowly avoided a jail sentence after stealing in excess of £6,500 from supermarket giant Tesco after attempting to use a National Lottery winning payout scam, a court heard on Wednesday.
Twenty-one-year-old Jena Bowen had been a distinguished employee before she stole amounts ranging from £415 to £997.90 during a three-month period last year at the local Pembroke branch. The court heard that Bowen attempted to disguise the cash she was taking by altering slips printed out by a National Lottery machine.
Bowen, who pleaded guilty to nine charges of theft at Harverfordwest Magistrates' Court, said that she had abused her position as acting manager in an attempt to pay off long-standing debts after being panicked by letters sent by bailiffs relating to a string of unpaid loans and bills.
Defending Bowen, James Subbiani added that she had previously hoped for a fulfilling career at the supermarket. He said: “Bowen made a monumentally foolish decision to get herself out from a rock and a hard place. To a greater or lesser degree, she has ruined her life, good employment in the future will be difficult to achieve.”
Bowen was given a two-year suspended jail sentence for her crimes and ordered to pay back the full amount that she stole. She was also told to do 200 hours unpaid work and pay £165 towards prosecution costs and a victim surcharge.
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