Gosport catering manager told to repay cash stolen from naval base

THIEF Tracy Leech

THIEF Tracy Leech

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FORMER catering manager Tracy Leech has been ordered to repay money she stole while working at HMS Sultan.

She pleaded guilty to stealing £2,200 between November 22 and December 12 last year.

Leech took the cash while she was working as the line manager in the senior rates’ mess at the base in Military Road, Gosport.

In a police interview Leech, of Harbour Towers in Gosport, admitted taking money on three occasions but said she had intended to repay it.

Prosecutor David Orman said: ‘She was employed in a position of responsibility, and one of those responsibilities included handling the takings from various places, including cafes and mess halls.’

Leech’s theft was first picked up when a discrepancy of more than £1,000 was noticed between the amount banked and what was recorded in the takings.

Mr Orman added: ‘Mr Wilson, her manager, knew that only Miss Leech and himself had keys to the safe where the money was stored.

‘He planned to discuss it with her, but in the meantime she suddenly called in sick and then tendered her resignation.

‘Further investigation uncovered more instances of money going missing.’

Leech, 44, who is now unemployed, was also given a 12-month community order with an unpaid work requirement of 150 hours

Chairwoman Janet White ordered that the full amount would have to be repaid to her former employer Sodexo, which holds the catering contract for the base.

She said: ‘We appreciate your financial situation isn’t good right now, but we feel you should pay it back and make arrangements with the fines officer to repay that amount.’

Sally Martin, defending, said her client was ‘extremely remorseful’ and added: ‘She acted in desperation as she had had money problems over the past two years.

‘The money wasn’t taken to have an extravagant lifestyle.

‘It was taken because she was desperate – she had bills, she was in arrears.

‘This is a woman who has financially struggled for a long time.’

No order was made for costs.

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