An agency staff member has received a suspended prison sentence after stealing £11,500 in unclaimed deposits from a branch of Connells.
Amy Bygrave, 28, appeared at Luton Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to stealing £11,573.43 from Connells from August last year up until February 2017.
Leighton Buzzard Online reports that Bygrave, who worked at the office as an administrator, transferred unclaimed rental deposits into her own and a friend’s bank accounts, when they should have been put into the company account.
Bygrave attempted to cover up her crime by creating a fake audit trail in the company’s computer system.
The report explains that the offences were discovered after a tenant complained; then it was found that Bygrave carried out around 20 such transactions.
Bygrave’s legal representatives told the court that she had worked several years as an apprentice but had built up £11,000 in debt. The court was told she had repaid over £1,150 to Connells and had started a new job working with an agency to help tackle her debt.
Bygrave received a 12 month sentence suspended for two years and has to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work and a curfew for four months.
Judge Michael Kay QC is reported as telling Bygrave: “The money has been used to meet accumulated debt. You had been living well beyond your means for a period of time. ... You are without doubt remorseful now, at the time you thought you could get away with it. ... You have so far paid back £1,150 [to Connells]. There is thought to be some hope that with the new job you might pay back some of that debt.”