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Wednesday, 20 February 2019
A WOMAN defrauded a high street chain by swapping labels on her own clothes and then claiming refunds on them as “returns”.
Susan Rossiter received a total of £249.97 from TK Maxx stores as a result of her “sophisticated” crimes, Reading Crown Court heard.
At the time of the offences in 2014, she was depressed, the court was told.
Rossiter, 61, of Hayden Lane, Nuffield, admitted three counts of fraud and was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid community work for each one, to run concurrently, and ordered to pay £249.97 in compensation and a victim surcharge of £60.
Francis Lloyd, prosecuting, said: “On three occasions she bought clothing from TK Maxx and then went back to a different store and took her own clothing which she passed off as clothing she had bought on another occasion.
“She received a full refund for clothes she had not bought there, which in fact had different labels put on them.”
The first occasion took place in August 2014, when Rossiter bought a dress at a TK Maxx store in Covent Garden and then “returned” a different dress with a new label stitched on to claim a £129.99 refund. The dress was in fact one she had had at home.
The following month she bought a jacket at a TK Maxx in Hammersmith and then took a jumper from home with a new label to the firm’s store in Reading to claim a £49.99 refund. In December 2014 she bought a jacket at the TK Maxx store in Kensington High Street and then returned a different jacket from home to another store to claim a £69.99 refund.
Rossiter was caught as the jacket was covered in cat hair, the court heard.
Mr Lloyd said she had admitted the offences to the police but not to changing the labels.
Wafa Shah, defending, said: “At the time of these offences Mrs Rossiter was facing a number of personal circumstances, including a change in medication and depression.
“She is a caring mother and has a daughter who is working. She is somebody of good character.
“This is a matter that has gone on for two years and there is no doubt these proceedings will have had some amount of effect on her, including stress and anxiety.
“Clearly these matters are going to affect the rest of her life — in her own words she’s ashamed and embarrassed.”
Sentencing Rossiter, Recorder Mr Harold Persaud said: “I don’t accept that this was not a sophisticated plan. It’s quite sophisticated to take clothing from one shop, sew labels in clothing and then take it to another shop to claim money.
“I accept that having this matter hanging over you will have led to stress and anxiety. I also accept that at the time of the offences you were not well.
“Due to your limited means I am not making an order for prosecution costs, although I think this is a case where such an order should be made.”
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