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Shop worker stole nearly £20,000 from safe is jailed for three years

PUBLISHED: 16:28 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:42 13 October 2019

The One Stop Shop in Middleton Road in Gorleston. Photo: Google

The One Stop Shop in Middleton Road in Gorleston. Photo: Google

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A shop worker who stole nearly £20,000 from a safe went on a spending spree, buying expensive camera and motorcycle equipment, a court heard.

Freddy Knight, 31, was working as shift manager at the One Stop Shop, in Middleton Road, Gorleston, when he stole the cash by disabling the store CCTV and spraying a security camera before accessing the safe using its code, Norwich Crown Court heard.

He then later returned to set off the store alarm to make it look like a break-in, the court heard on Friday.

When Knight was arrested he had just over £500 in cash, which he claimed was what was left of his savings.

But police found that just before the theft he was £19 into his overdraft and that after he made a number of lavish purchases, spending £1,290 on new camera equipment and buying expensive motorbike leathers costing £1,000.

He also bought a new motorbike and paid off high-interest loans amounting to £6,000.

But Knight made a few mistakes - he wrote his carefully laid plans out on his phone, which, although deleted, was later recovered by police. He had not realised the safe had a special memory feature to say when it was accessed, the court was told.

Knight, of Magnolia Green, Gorleston, had denied theft of £19,780 in December 2016, but was convicted following a four-day trial.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Knight was in a position of some responsibility and carefully planned the theft but said: "There were a few flaws in his plan. He failed to notice that the access to the safe had a memory, which noted the time it was opened, which rather pointed the finger at him."

Jailing him for three years, Judge Andrew Shaw described him as a "thoroughly dishonest and manipulative" person whose devious plan had cast suspicion on his innocent colleagues, one of whom had suffered anxiety and stress as a result and had to leave the job.

He said he had no one but himself to blame for being jailed.

Oliver Haswell, for Knight, said while there was a breach of trust he was not in a high position.

"He was a shift manager with limited responsibility," he said.

He said that Knight was a carer to his mother and any sentence would impact on his family.

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