Assistant manager stole money from charity shop

A former assistant manager of a charity shop has received a suspended sentence for stealing money from Cancer Research UK.

Nicole Ferguson, of Fergleen Park, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and theft by an employee.

The offences were committed between March and July, last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard the 27-year-old stole £636.05 from Cancer Research UK when she was employed at their Ferryquay Street shop.

She had processed false refunds and kept the money.

The charity were able to trace the fraudulent refunds to Ferguson because of a code she used to authorise them. Only certain staff in the shop were allowed to give refunds and were only allowed to do so if the customer had a receipt.

It was revealed the 27-year-old processed a total of 65 refunds during the five month period.

During police interview, Ferguson admitted the offences and said she only stopped stealing money when she realised she had been caught.

Defence counsel Steven Mooney told the court his client has saved £636 to pay back Cancer Research UK.

He said she is a ‘lady of very limited means’ and saving this compensation has been ‘very difficult for her’.

Mr Mooney said Ferguson ‘knows she has done wrong and is anxious to put it right’.

He added that if she lives for another 50 years she is likely to ‘never appear before the court again’.

Mr Mooney told the court she has now lost her job and any future employment prospects and for her to lose her liberty might be a punishment too far’.

Suspending a four months sentence for 18 months, District Judge Barney McElholm also ordered Ferguson to spend 12 months on probation.

He said it is a ‘breach of trust’ case but he had to take into account all that has been said about the defendant.

The judge said there is ‘no point’ in sending the 27-year-old to prison as she has ‘lost her employment and the shame of all this is bound to have an effect on her’.

He also ordered Ferguson to pay £636.05 compensation to Cancer Research UK.