A police chief inspector has been convicted of a catalogue of petty frauds after tricking High Street stores into giving a full refund for discounted luxury items.
Chief Inspector Tanya Brookes, 46, bought cut-price breast pumps, Micro Scooters and cashmere blankets in bulk on eBay and in discount outlets.
The mother-of-four then created false bank statements on a computer showing she paid the full amount for the high-end items – then took them to different stores for a full refund.
Wearing her police ID lanyard, she would demand a refund in what the prosecution branded an abuse of trust.
Brookes, who worked under her maiden name of Sillett, was found guilty to 25 counts of fraud and cleared of two at an earlier trial.
Today, she pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to a further eight charges of fraud. Sentencing has been adjourned until May 6.
Nicholas Tucker, prosecuting, described Brookes as a ‘high-flyer’ who went to great lengths to carry out petty frauds despite earning a ‘healthy salary’.
Though she was not on duty at the time of the offences, he added she used her position in Surrey Police Force to manipulate High Street staff.
He said: ‘It is our case that despite the healthy salaries which she and her husband enjoyed as senior police officers, Mrs Brookes – for reasons which may remain a mystery – expended an extraordinary amount of effort and her own time devising various scams, principally targeted against High Street retailers.
‘To compound matters, we say that on occasion she exploited her status as a police officer in order to inspire trust in individuals she meant to deceive.’
Her main targets were Boots, Waitrose, Micro Scooter and luxury homeware store The White Company.
At first, she bought Poitier cotton sheets and satin-edged cashmere blankets from The White Company’s outlet store in Bicester, Oxfordshire, before taking them back to the Godalming store with a false bank statement.
Then, she bought £35 Sculptinex facial treatments, £120 Clearblue fertility monitors and £130 Medela breast pumps in bulk on eBay – and took them back to Boots for their full retail price.
Mr Tucker also told the court how Brookes bought forged discount vouchers for Lurpak online and used them in Waitrose.
She would falsify a bank statement on her computer showing that the full price for the product had been paid and return it to another branch of the store and fraudulently reclaim the difference in price.
She would tell shop staff that the items had been bought by ‘an extravagant great aunt’.
Mr Tucker said: ‘Mrs Brookes would often be wearing her police ID on a lanyard round her neck – this was irregular, and the prosecution say it was a ploy by Mrs Brookes to capitalise on the trust people tend to place in police officers.’
In another scam outlined by the prosecution, Brookes offered to organise a stall selling Micro Scooters at her son’s nursery.
Mr Tucker said that despite the fact that the PTA declined her offer, Brookes went ahead with the plan and when she received the two promotional scooters offered by the manufacturer, she returned them to the Kingston branch of John Lewis in exchange for vouchers and a different Micro Scooter.
A further five offences which she denied were ordered to lie on file. A further two charges of acting with intent to prejudice/defraud HM Revenue and Customs which were due to be heard at a third trial will also now lie on file.
Read the full story at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2577604/Police-chief-inspector-46-defrauded-High-Street-shops-buying-breast-pumps-fertility-tests-eBay-returning-refund.html