Derry charity shop worker stole money

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A former assistant manager of a Derry 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 of 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 in Derry city centre.

The court was told she had processed false refunds and kept the money.

The charity was able to trace the fraudulent refunds to Ferguson because of a code she had used to authorise them.

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 had saved £636 to pay back to Cancer Research UK.

He said she was a ‘lady of very limited means’ and saving the compensation had been ‘very difficult for her’.

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

He added that she was likely to ‘never appear before the court again’.

Mr Mooney told the court Ferguson had now lost her job and any future employment prospects.

He added that for her to lose her liberty might be ‘a punishment too far’.

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

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

The judge said there was ‘no point’ in sending the 27-year-old to prison as she had ‘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.