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Sisters avoid jail for Marks and Spencer scam

CCTV showed the sisters had stolen from the shop on four previous occasions
CCTV showed the sisters had stolen from the shop on four previous occasions

A former employee of Marks and Spencer pretended to scan almost €6000 worth of clothes brought to the checkout by her sister and then handed over the items free of charge along with cash from the till, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Nicoleta Costineanu (28), who worked for the store, and her sister Maria Talmaciu (30), both of Inchicore, Dublin  pleaded guilty to four counts of theft at Marks and Spencers, Grafton Street on dates in September 2014. Costineanu pleaded guilty to an additional count of theft on September 30 2014.

The thefts came to light when Talmaciu was apprehended by security guards at the shop on September 30. Costineanu had been escorted off the premises by staff members but later agreed to meet with gardaí for questioning.

CCTV showed the sisters had stolen from the shop on four previous occasions. In total an estimated €5,660 worth of stock and €1,952 of cash was stolen, none of which was recovered.

The sisters, Romanian nationals who have lived in Ireland for several years, brought €3000 compensation to court.

Kathleen Leader BL, defending Talmaciu, said her client had never been in trouble before and was extremely remorseful. Carol Doherty BL, defending Costineanu, said her client was likewise remorseful and extremely embarrassed. Neither sister has any previous convictions.

Imposing fully suspended one-year sentences on both women, Judge Patricia Ryan said the offence was serious but accepted their genuine remorse, guilty pleas and the compensation they had brought to court as mitigation.

Declan Conlon