A SUPERMARKET worker from Salisbury has been given a suspended prison sentence after stealing more than £28,000 from her employer.

Amy Louise White, 24, admitted stealing £28,122 while she was working in the customer returns department at Waitrose.

White had access to the customer returns database and used it to process refunds to her own bank account by memorising the barcodes of high-value items, including televisions and sound systems.

White, of Culver Street, also stole money by legitimately buying goods from the store and then giving herself refunds without returning the items.

Waitrose became suspicious about the refunds and conducted an internal investigation which revealed she had stolen thousands of pounds from the company between May last year and February this year.

Salisbury Magistrates Court heard on Friday that White, who starting working at the store when she was 16, has already paid back about £4,499 and given back items she stole.

Susan Jones, defending, said White used the money to fund a lifestyle she couldn’t afford, and had started gambling.

“She wishes she never started this cycle,” said Miss Jones. “This was out of character and she realises she has thrown away career prospects through her own stupidity. She accepts she needs to be punished for these offences and she is remorseful.”

White pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation and one of theft by an employee.

She was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 240 hours’ unpaid work and pay a victim surcharge of £100.

Recorder Paul Garlick, sentencing, said: “You are an extremely lucky woman here today; in front of some other judges in this court you would be going to prison straight away for two years - I hope you understand that.”