Stressed bookie’s theft thrown away

Betfred in Bulwell, where Katie Pickering-Merrett used to work
Betfred in Bulwell, where Katie Pickering-Merrett used to work

The stressed deputy manager of a betting shop stole thousands of pounds in cash from the premises and threw most of it in the River Leen at Bulwell, a court heard.

The behaviour of Katie Pickering-Merrett (39), of Hambling Close, Bulwell, was described at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court as “unusual”.

But it stemmed from the long hours she was spending at the Betfred shop on Front Street, Arnold, claimed Lynsey Morrison (defending).

Miss Morrison said: “With travel, the hours were not sustainable, but every time she asked for a move, she was told no. She even split with her partner because of the pressure of work commitments.”

On 16th October last year Pickering-Merrett took £3,641.60 in cash from the shop, cleared out the customers, locked up and stormed off. She dropped off the keys at the Main Street, Bulwell branch of Betfred, where she used to work. Later she sent a text message to the Bulwell manager, Tracey Westwick, that read: “My head’s gone.” and told the area manager what she had done.

“She said she hated the company, who had falsely accused her of stealing in the past,” said Mark Kennedy (prosecuting). “When arrested, she told police she had been fed-up, angry and stressed. At her home, police found £956.13 cash and also receipts from goods and clothes she had bought with some of the money.”

Miss Morrison said: “She had always been described as a good employee, but the move to Arnold in 2013 was against her wishes. It was silly to spend some of the money, but she wasn’t thinking straight.” She was “drinking heavily at the time” and had since been diagnosed with depression. But she was full of remorse and had written an apology to the court. Pickering-Merrett, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to pay £2,505.47 compensation.