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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

£73,000 defrauded from Countrywide branch - culprits go free

Over £73,000 has been stolen from a Countrywide branch by two admin staff making false travel claims and issuing fake invoices.

The crimes happened at Miller Countrywide in Cornwall - and the two criminals have walked free from court.

Tanya Roberts and Susan Garratt admit the offences, between 2016 and 2018, but only reported to the police last year.

At Truro Crown Court the pair, who were employed at the Camborne branch, have pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud.

Roberts fraudulently claimed £33,750 through invoices from a firm run by her son, who is said to have been unaware of the scam; Roberts also claimed a further £31,782 in false mileage expenses. Garratt claimed £7,775 in false mileage expenses. 

The pair - who say they split the proceeds 50:50 - resigned from Countrywide when the claims and invoices were the subject of an internal investigation in 2018. 

Roberts, who has a previous offence for theft and has not repaid any stolen money to Countrywide, has received a two year prison sentence suspended for two years and is to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work. 

Garratt - who has so far repaid over £7,000 to the agency - has been jailed for 22 months suspended for two years, and is to perform 200 hours of unpaid work. 

Judge Linford, presiding at the court, said: “You are both thoroughly dishonest people, you in particular Tanya Roberts. You were sentenced previously at this court for theft and one would have thought you would have learnt, but you started doing it again. You avoid custody because I am not sending Miss Garratt to prison.”

Garratt has a small son and was previously of good character.

You can read a local press report of the court trial here.

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