Lisa Arnold stole £15,000 of seized cash from an evidence store to fund her expensive online shopping addiction (Picture: BNPS)
A woman who stole £15,000 from a police evidence locker to fund her shopping addiction has been jailed.
Lisa Arnold’s job, as an exhibits officer, was to records all items seized following investigations by Dorset Police.
But the 52-year-old started to secretly steal money from safes at the force’s headquarters in 2018.
Over the next four years, Arnold targeted envelopes containing uncounted cash, carefully slicing the bottom open to remove wads of notes before resealing them with Sellotape.
Her colleagues found that cash had gone missing from 17 envelopes which had previously been counted, while 41 others had been tampered with.
Officers later found cash piled in the bottom of her wardrobe in Swanage, Dorset.
When she was arrested, Arnold admitted to using the money to pay off debt for an online shopping addiction which she developed after her marriage broke down.
She pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by an employee at Bournemouth Crown Court.
The cash was found piled in the bottom of her wardrobe at her home in Swanage (Picture: Dorset Police/BNPS)
Stuart Ellacot, prosecuting, said Arnold had stolen a ‘minimum sum’ of £14,494 – but that the actual amount paid into her bank account and credit card during the period was far higher.
He said: ‘There was an investigation into the finances of staff who could have access to the property store.
‘That revealed that Mrs Arnold appeared to be paying large sums of cash into her credit card and bank account in excess of her monthly salary.
‘She was interviewed and made full admissions to taking cash.
‘She said she was saving because she said that at the time she was thinking of leaving her husband.’
‘Gunman’ arrested after ‘shots fired at car’ in seaside town
Pope says laws criminalising homosexuality are ‘unjust’
Christopher Pix, defending, said Arnold had been ‘sucked into’ a shopping addiction to cope with her marital strife.
He said: ‘She is currently menopausal. Her marriage was in a crisis and the time and she developed a shopping addiction that sucked her in.
‘Her marriage, which was partly a catalyst to these incidents, is back on track.’
In jailing Arnold for two years judge Susan Evans KC said her actions had a ‘devastating impact’ on public confidence in police which warranted an immediate custodial sentence.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.