Cashier jailed after being caught with fingers in the till

Karl Lowther
Karl Lowther

A thieving cashier who voided transactions to steal thousands from his employers has been jailed for over five months.

Karl Lowther, 33, stole nearly £3,000 over a nine-month period while working as a cash teller at Manor Road Stores in Scarborough.

Owners Nigel and Jane Park trusted Lowther to cash up at the end of each day’s trading, but behind their backs he was pocketing ever-larger sums from customer purchases instead of depositing the cash in the convenience store’s safe, York Crown Court heard.

Lowther was finally rumbled after Mr and Mrs Park noticed voided transactions during an audit, said prosecutor Martin Robertshaw.

They had a meeting with Lowther to discuss their concerns but he vehemently denied any wrongdoing. They sacked him on the spot and called in police.

Lowther, of Manor Road, was hauled in for questioning in March this year, when he finally owned up to stealing £2,884 from the shop between June 2016 and March this year. He also pleaded guilty to false accounting.

He appeared for sentence on Tuesday when the court heard he had a previous conviction for theft by employee in 2007, when he used the same methods to steal from Woolworth’s, the former retail chain where he worked as a cashier.

He was given a community order for that offence but in 2012 he was in trouble again for a wounding offence and received a suspended prison sentence.

Mr Robertshaw said Lowther began stealing from the convenience store just a few months after starting work there as a part-time cashier in April last year.

“He was in a position of trust,” added the barrister. “He had to log in his personal code to gain access to the till and was responsible for his own float and cashing up at the end of the shift. He was initially looked upon as a good timekeeper, polite and a good worker.”

From June 2016, however, Lowther began voiding transactions for grocery purchases and pocketing the money himself.

“The offences came to light when Jane Park noticed money was missing from the excess float,” added Mr Robertshaw.

He said Lowther left post-it notes next to his till where he would write down the amounts of cash he would keep for himself “rather than putting it through the system and into the safe”.

“He told police he stole because he was in financial difficulties (due to) his (household) bills becoming bigger,” said Mr Robertshaw.

Mrs Park said the thefts had come as a “shock” to her and her husband, who had looked upon Lowther as a friendly, trusted employee.

She said the thefts represented a “substantial loss” to their small business and placed extra stress on other employees because they had been unable to recruit new workers.

She questioned Lowther’s claims that he was in financial turmoil at the time because he had his own personal trainer at his local gym and had turned down the offer of working extra hours.

Lowther’s lawyer David Camidge said his client suffered from “severe” mental-health difficulties and had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Jailing Lowther for 24 weeks, Mr Recorder Thackray branded his thieving “shameful”.