Travel agency worker stole £1,200 in Euro exchange con

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A 23-YEAR-OLD Burnley woman working at a Clitheroe travel agency manipulated foreign exchange rates on the computer so she could pocket cash.

Blackburn magistrates heard how Katie Wardrobe stole more than £1,200 during a two to three-week period.

Wardrobe, of Lindsay Park, Burnley, admitted thrree charges of theft and three of false accounting and asked for 12 other similar offences to be taken into consideration.

She was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and pay £85 costs.

Mr Peter Wilde (prosecuting) said he had spoken to the shop manager who had confirmed he had received a cheque from the defendant’s mother in full payment of the money stolen.

He said Wardrobe used the computer to vary the exchange rate when people came in to buy Euros.

“The person buying the Euros did not lose out as they bought them at the correct rate and left with the correct number of Euros,” said Mr Wilde. “She then went on the computer and altered the exchange rate which meant that instead of costing £113, for example, the Euros would have cost £69 and she pocketed the £43 difference.”

Mrs Annette Shaw (defending) said Wardrobe had never been in trouble before.

She said her problems started with a credit card debt which she sought to resolve by taking out loans through the internet.

“This compounded the situation and before she knew it she owed three or four thousand pounds,” said Mrs Shaw. “She was too ashamed to tell her parents, she panicked and this is the result.

Mrs Shaw said as well as repaying the company her client’s parents had paid off her debts.

“It is sad that a bright intelligent young lady with an awful lot going for her has felt she had to resort to this.

“It is hoped that with the support of her parents she will move on from this having learned a very painful lesson.