Shamed by £5 scam

PUBLISHED: 12:24 18 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:07 28 May 2010

HARD-UP former managing director Steven Stillwell was caught by keen-eyed security staff in a scam that was set to make him the princely sum of £5.04. Stilwell picked up an abandoned receipt for four cans of lager in a Tesco car park, selected the matchin

HARD-UP former managing director Steven Stillwell was caught by keen-eyed security staff in a scam that was set to make him the princely sum of £5.04.

Stilwell picked up an abandoned receipt for four cans of lager in a Tesco car park, selected the matching drink from a shelf, put it in a Tesco bag, and then demanded a refund.

But customer service assistant Julia Mallett was suspicious, and CCTV showed that Stillwell had come into the Wisbech supermarket empty handed.

Appearing before Fenland magistrates, Stillwell, 53, of London Road, Chatteris, admitted obtaining property by deception on June 21.

The court was told he had received a police caution on June 22, after pulling a similar stunt at the Asda store in Wisbech.

"He is very embarrassed indeed to appear in court," said solicitor John Clarke. "He is a person who was proud, he ran his own business and was managing director, and that was sold.

"He did some other jobs, but lost his last job, so suddenly at the age of 53 he ended up with no money, and on benefit.

"It is more difficult if you have spent most of your life on reasonable money, and are suddenly on income support.

"He panicked, but through such a sophisticated crime he gained very little, £5, and got caught straight away.

"He had been in the store before, and got some money back legally. The person in the shop thought they had seen him before, and picked him up."

Giving him a one-year conditional discharge and ordering him to pay £5.04 compensation and £55 costs, presiding magistrate Alan Jones said: "We are sympathetic with your circumstances, but it is not an excuse for dishonesty.


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