Debt-ridden Tesco man stole phones from site in Skegness

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An ex-Tesco manager, who had debts of £25,000, stole mobile phones and electronic books from the shop’s storage area while employed there.

Timothy Strachan Lines, 31, now living at Clarkson Avenue, Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, admitted stealing the phones and Kindle books valued at £2,700 from Tesco in Skegness between February 1 and March 11, when he appeared before magistrates in the town last week.

Prosecuting, Paul Wood said Lines had been a deputy shop manager at Tesco for about six months when suspicions were aroused because a number of high value items were going missing from the supermarket’s storage area.

CCTV cameras were installed and in February Lines was seen moving items around in a suspicious manner.

On March 11, he was seen to move four phones and put them in his socks before going to his office and putting them in a box, with which he tried to leave the store but was stopped by other managers.

He admitted to his managers and, later to the police, to having taken 19 mobile phones and six Kindles.

He said he had been having an extra marital affair and needed more money and, after taking the first phone and finding it easy to sell, had continued to take them.

He said he had sold them to strangers in the pub who did not ask questions but he was able to recover some of the phones and return them.

Mitigating, Gordon Holt said Lines had no previous convictions and, having been arrested, made the ‘sensible and correct decision’ to admit to everything he had taken.

He said Lines had worked for Tesco since 2006 and had been at the Skegness branch for about six months.

Barbara Hartley, for the Probation Service, said Lines had debts of £25,000 and his wife had now left him.

She said he had said that having initially stolen a mobile phone and found it easy to steal, he had stolen more.

Mr Holt added that things had been going well for Lines: he was married with two children but it all went wrong when he came to Skegness.

He had a fling with someone and also now had debts of £25,000.

“It has had a substantial impact on his life,” he said. “He is struggling to find work and his career is in tatters.”

The Magistrates imposed a 12 month community order, 180 hours of unpaid work for the community, and ordered him to pay £1,500 compensation to Tesco, £85 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.