A father and daughter fraud duo stole almost £60,000 from a convenience store chain while they were managers - and their wife and mum was a senior boss.

Christopher Partner, 62, ran the McColl's store in Totton when he stole £46,000 by falsely ordering stamps and pocketing the money to buy them on 54 separate occasions.

Meanwhile, his daughter Charlotte, 30, stole £13,000 using the same trick at a different store - and sent the money to a man she'd spoken to twice online and believed she was in a relationship with.

The pair, both from Sunnyhill Road, Salisbury, claimed they had no idea the other was stealing from the company.

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Salisbury Journal: Charlotte Partner leaving Southampton Crown Court. Charlotte Partner leaving Southampton Crown Court. (Image: Solent News & Photo Agency)Also in the dark was their wife and mother, who was an area manager for McColl's at the time - and said she would file for divorce if Mr Partner was jailed, the court heard.

At Southampton Crown Court yesterday, he was handed a 15-month prison sentence, while his daughter walked out of court with a nine month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Lucie Taylor, defending the pair, said both had no previous offences and what they did was “desperate times call for desperate measures”.

But Judge Nicholas Rowland added: “Plenty of people sadly do go through desperate times and they don’t go putting their hands in the till.”

Mr Partner stole from the company between June 2020 and March 2021 by tampering with the paperwork for ordering stamps.

His daughter, assistant manager of the New Milton McColl's store, began her fraud in September 2020 by lying about how many stamps she was ordering and pocketing the £13,729 cash difference.

The court heard that the fraudster had met a man on the messaging app Kik and had transferred him a total of £18,000.

Ms Taylor described her client as a “vulnerable individual who was taken advantage of by someone she thought she had a genuine relationship with”.

Ms Partner's crimes ended in March 2021, the same month that her father was made redundant following an internal investigation which found missing paperwork.

The net was also closing in around Ms Partner due to another company fraud probe.

She kept changing her story about what happened to the missing stamps and offered to pay back the cash.

In April 2021 she handed in her notice - and then went to the police and confessed.
Mr Partner was also interviewed by police, where he admitted to taking the money intended for buying stamps.

He said that the money was used to cover family debt - but disputed the amount he stole.

Salisbury Journal: Charlotte Partner leaving Southampton Crown Court. Charlotte Partner leaving Southampton Crown Court. (Image: Solent News & Photo Agency)

Prosecutor Leigh Hart said the actions of the father and daughter were a “breach of trust” and impacted other staff who were initially investigated as well.

Ms Partner is now training to be a veterinary nurse and Mr Partner works in a bread factory.

Ms Taylor said he now owed lots of money on several credit cards, adding: “Both commented that it was stupid and that they regret what they did.”

McColl's filed for administration in 2022 and was bought out by Morrisons.

Judge Rowland said their fraud would have had a “cumulative” impact on the company's financial woes.

Ms Partner must also complete 180 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation days.