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Ex-employee jailed over coffee shop burglary - Neath

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Lloyd Walker

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A former coffee shop employee, who had kept a set of keys for the business, returned six months later and stole £850 in order to pay off a loan shark.

Lloyd Walker was captured on CCTV stealing cash from a safe at Hi Coffee in Neath railway station on 1 May this year.

He has now been jailed for six months at Swansea Crown Court, after pleading guilty to burglary at an earlier hearing.

The court heard that after closing the shop at around 6pm on 1 May, Hi Coffee’s duty manager cashed up and locked the day’s takings in the safe. The following day, it was discovered that seven of the nine cash bags – containing a total of £1,221 - were missing.

Staff then checked CCTV and saw 32-year-old Walker entering the shop at 7.15pm on 1 May, before unlocking the safe and helping himself to the money. He had been previously employed by Hi Coffee, working at shops throughout South Wales, but this employment had come to an end in November 2017. Despite being asked to return all his keys, he kept a set for the Neath branch.

Walker, of Glyn Street, Aberavon, used £700 of the stolen cash to repay a money lender and spent the remainder on items for his family.  Despite being charged with stealing the full amount of £1,221, he was adamant that he took no more than £850.

In addition to six months’ imprisonment, he must also pay a victim surcharge of £115 on his release from custody.

Detective Constable Janey du Sauzay, from British Transport Police, said: “Walker claimed that he hadn’t kept the key with the intention of committing any offences, but had simply forgotten to return it, but financial pressures had driven him to ultimately steal the money.

“However, regardless of how desperate a situation a person finds themselves in, financial difficulty is never an excuse to commit burglary. He was placed in a position of trust by Hi Coffee during his time in their employment and he took advantage of, and betrayed that trust in the most callous manner.

“In addition to the lost earnings, Hi Coffee has been further hit by the cost of replacing all the locks at branches where Walker worked, so the impact on the business has been significant.

“It is satisfying to see that the court has taken a serious view of his actions, and I welcome the sentence handed down. I hope this sends a clear message that theft or burglary on any scale simply isn’t worth the risk.”

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