A FAMILY that lost thousands of pounds to a thieving shop worker has hit out after she was told to pay back just £1.
Stacey Lajoie was jailed for two years for her part in a ‘supermarket sweep’ after helping herself to cash and handing out groceries to pals.
Lajoie, who worked at Falcon News in Lake Road, Portsmouth, for the Sood family, was caught on CCTV stealing after 11 years working for the family.
Now a judge has ruled that Lajoie benefited from £18,815 but has to pay back just £1 in a confiscation order. Police can ask that to be increased if she comes into more assets.
Linda Sood, who discovered the crime when she looked at shop CCTV footage, said she was disgusted.
She said: ‘It’s disgusting – she had the money.
‘The business is a lot better since she’s gone.
‘But we’ll never recovery what we put in.’
Lajoie, 31, won the trust of the Sood family, going on to become duty manager.
But they discovered she was giving away multi-packs of cigarettes, mobile top-ups, gas and electricity card top-ups, along with food and drink.
She was able to get away with it as the Sood family left her in charge every Sunday while they had a break.
Portsmouth Crown Court was told her thefts happened between July 2013 and March 2014, but prosecutor Barry McElduff said they may have been going on well before that.
At the start of the case he described the crime as an ‘illegal supermarket sweep’.
The Soods, who built the business up from scratch over 30 years, paid out £236,000 to keep the business afloat, including selling their other shop in Waterlooville, remortgaging and cashing in a private pension.
Sentencing Lajoie in March, Judge Claudia Ackner said: ‘None of this scale of theft would have been possible without the lynchpin activity of Lajoie.
‘It was brazen in its frequency and scale. It nearly brought the Sood business to the point of failure.’
Seven others were sentenced for their involvement.
Donna Stanley, 35, of Copnor Road, Portsmouth, who was found guilty of theft, benefited £2,185.
She has paid back £1,500 and she had £685 confiscated.