Trusted book-keeper who stole £150,000 from sewing shop ordered to sell car to pay back more than £9,000

PUBLISHED: 06:58 27 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:28 27 March 2018

Samantha Harris was jailed for theft. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Samantha Harris was jailed for theft. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A trusted book keeper, who stole about £150,000 from a popular sewing and craft shop in Taverham, has been ordered to pay back £9,711 by selling her only remaining asset - her car.

Samantha Harris, 42, was said to have “systematically” stolen over a seven year period from the sewing and craft shop Sew Simple, which is based at Taverham nursery and country shopping centre, near Norwich.

Harris of Eastgate, Cawston, was jailed for two years in November, last year, after she admitted stealing the cash between June 2010 and June 2017.

Harris, who appeared via video link from prison, was back at Norwich Crown Court for a confiscation hearing to try to claw back some of the cash she stole.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said the agreed benefit figure was £153,312 and said Harris was now a serving prisoner and not working and so the only realisable asset she had was her car, which was worth £9711.

Judge Anthony Bate agreed the confiscation order and gave Harris three months to pay the cash.

He thanked her for her assistance in agreeing the terms of the confiscation order but said that she would have to spend a further two months in prison in default if she did not pay up the cash.

The court earlier heard how Harris stole cash from the business where she was a trusted employee and then covered her tracks using company vouchers.

When she was confronted about the thefts she admitted what she had done.

The owner of the business, Sally Dye said in an impact statement, which was read in court, that she thought Harris was a trusted employee and spoke of her “utter disbelief” that someone she thought of as a friend could steal from a small family business.

She said the thefts had caused her a lot of stress and extra work and said that Harris had “let the whole team down.”

As well as the losses, Ms Dye also had to pay £8,000 for a forensic accountant to go through the books because of the thefts.

The sentencing judge said that Harris had abused her position of trust and told her: “The company relied on you for management of its finances.”

Harris had claimed she started stealing following the death of her father and said she had been in a “dark place” at the time she committed the offences.

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