Bideford factory worker admits stealing £1,500 of cosmetics from employers
A FACTORY employee who had been in her job for just four days stole almost £1,500 of cosmetics and tried to sell them on eBay.
Stacey Vallins, 23, pleaded guilty to theft at North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday after being tracked down by internet-savvy detectives who were alerted by body Shop staff.
Sonia Croft, for the prosecution, told magistrates how Vallins had just started working through an agency for Swallow Field Plc in Bideford. Miss Croft explained how the factory made lip balm for the Body Shop, as well as many other products.
"Body Shop staff saw the lip balm for sale on eBay," she said, "despite the fact it wasn't yet available in stores.
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"They alerted the police who tracked Vallins through eBay."
The officers were helped in their enquiries by the fact Swallow Field was the only place it was being made.
They then raided Vallins' home in Hawthorn Road, Barnstaple, and found piles of the lip balm worth £1,478.51.
Tony Dart, for the defence, said the theft was out of character.
"Her partner upped and left and she was left with bills to pay," he said.
"It wasn't pre-meditated but she felt under-pressure to pay the bills and got this crazy idea into her mind."
He said Vallins had made just £7 through sales of the lip balm and was surprised to learn the value of the goods she stole.
"She's truly sorry and remorseful," he said.
Presiding magistrate Martyn Steer-Fowler told Vallins: "This is a particularly serious offence as it's not only theft but a breach of trust."
He ordered her to abide by a curfew between 7pm and 6am for four months, pay a £60 victim surcharge and court costs of £85.