Checkout operator stole £600 from Tesco

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A checkout operator who slipped £1 and £2 coins into his pocket while handling change, appeared at East Tyrone Magistrates Court.

Nineteen-year-old Michael Donaghy, of Torrent View, Dungannon, was placed on probation for 18 months on a theft charge.

District Judge John Meehan told Donaghy that it had been “a shameful piece of behaviour and rather bizarre.”

He ordered the defendant to pay £600 to his former employer, Tesco, and put in place an instalment plan for £20 per week.

Counsel prosecuting said the offence happened at Tesco’s Beech Valley store in Dungannon between May 1 and August 13 last.

Counsel prosecuting explained when management suspected money was missing they began an investigation in which Donaghy was observed handing change to customers with one hand, while slipping a coin into his pocket with his other hand. He said when questioned by the manager about the theft the defedant initially denied taking the money, but admitted to taking it after being shown CCTV footage.

The lawyer said Donaghy later handed in his resignation and made a full statement of admission at Dungannon police station.

A defence lawyer pleaded with the court to give the defendant maximum credit for his full and frank admission.

He described the offending as simplistic and stupid and something which was bound to be detected given the technology and cameras deployed by the store.

The lawyer said Donaghy was willing to make compensation to Tesco. 
He was hoping to return to full time education and had managed to obtain another job and was “working to make things right.”

Judge Meehan remarked that the defendant was 18 at the time and had no previous convictions.

He told Donaghy to attend all appointments with the Probation Board and to follow the advice given.