A BENT barista stole almost £5,000 from the M&S café till as he tried to cover gambling losses.
Andres Agarrado-Casasola, 25, was working behind the till at the Queen Street store when he hit upon the idea of running fake refunds through the tills and pocketing the cash.
Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday afternoon that he had stolen a total of £4,867 in the five months between December 1 last year and April 15.
His lawyer, Scott Primmer, told the justices that his client had racked up substantial gambling debts and was ‘chasing his losses’ using money taken from the tills.
Earlier, Crown prosecutor Scott Forman said that the store manager at Oxford’s Queen Street M&S branch called Thames Valley Police on April 15 to report that a member of his staff had been taking large amounts of money from the tills.
Checks were made of CCTV footage from the upstairs café at the shop.
“It transpired the defendant was working at the café, issuing fake refunds at the till and pocketing the cash,” Mr Forman said.
“This involved printing receipts to get the cash till to open and folding cash in receipts and putting it in his pockets.”
M&S bosses and police had calculated the value of the theft at £4,867, basing the figure on the number of refunds offered on the days Agarrado-Casasola was working in the café.
Mr Forman suggested that the offence carried a starting point of a year behind bars, as there had been a ‘significant’ breach of trust placed in the defendant by M&S.
Defence solicitor Mr Primmer, for Agarrado-Casasola, disagreed – putting the offence in a lower category.
His client had admitted what he had done when he was interviewed by the police, saving the detectives’ time. “He simply put his hands up,” the lawyer said.
“The officer writing up this interview summary notes the significant amount of remorse he showed during his interview.”
That remorse was evident when Agarrado-Casasola came before the magistrates’ court on Wednesday, turning down the usher’s offer of a paper tissue as the tears welled in his eyes.
The former M&S barista had no previous convictions and the theft was out of character.
He was said to have turned to stealing in order to service a gambling addiction. He had burned through savings amassed before he came to the UK.
Agarrado-Casasola, of Boundary Brook Road, Oxford, pleaded guilty to theft by an employee.
Mr Primmer asked the justices to adjourn sentence for the preparation of a pre-sentence report, describing him as ‘ripe’ for intervention by the probation service.
The magistrates bailed Agarrado-Casasola to return to court on June 8.
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