A shop manager took £5,900 from her company by giving herself refunds for Filofaxes to feed her boyfriend’s gambling addiction.

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Lucy Bartram worked as assistant manager at Paperchase in Castle Street, Norwich, where from January to August last year she paid fake refunds to herself when alone in the shop.

The 23-year-old from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was then promoted to manager at the Tunbridge Wells store where she continued stealing from her company by making up the refunds of between £15 and £115 for fake customers.

When Paperchase carried out a routine audit of the store they noticed refunds for around 73 stationary items which had not been sold.

She was dismissed for gross misconduct in October 2011 and the police were called to investigate.

At Norwich Crown Court yesterday, Kevin Eastwick, prosecuting, said Bartram admitted she had been stupid but he said she had been under financial pressure.

Ross Burrows, mitigating, said: “She was with a boyfriend who had a gambling addiction on fruit machines and bookmakers.”

Bartram admitted to two counts of theft.

Recorder Christopher Morgan said the fraud had not been sophisticated but he said: “There was a high degree of trust placed in you.”

Mr Morgan sentenced her to eight months in jail suspended for 18 months and ordered her to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

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