Charity shop worker pleads guilty to theft


A man who worked at a British Heart Foundation charity shop has admitted four counts of theft and has been ordered to do 160 hours of community work.

Sefton Magistrates' Court heard that Alexander Fowell, 22, of Birbeck Road, Kirkby, worked in the charity's shops in Formby and Norris Green.

The area manager began an investigation into him after numerous duplicated receipts and refund receipts, with his name on, were found inside the rubbish bin at the Formby store.

The subsequent investigation showed that Fowell had been completing false refunds, for varying amounts, at both stores.  This was discovered from till records and the corresponding receipt records.

Fowell would forge a customer's signature on the returns receipt, countersign it and then keep the refunded money himself. This would either be in cash or credited onto a debit card.

Since working at the store he had made £1925.85 worth of transactions - much more than any other member of staff at the shops. It's not known how many of these returns were genuine.

On Monday 2nd March 2015, at 6.30pm, two police officers called to his house and cautioned and arrested him on suspicion of theft.

Fowell later pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and was ordered to pay £160 in compensation to the British Heart Foundation as well as doing the community work.

Andrew Page, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was a mean series of thefts from a charity that does valuable work to help people with serious heart conditions.

"Fowell had been a trusted employee of the charity but the court heard that he'd been struggling with debt and payday loans which might be why he decided to repay that trust with deceit."