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A daughter of a retired British Army general was caught stuffing £50 notes into her sock while working as a casino croupier, a court heard.
Sarah Clarke, 54, used sleight of hand to grab the cash while counting up at the end of her shift at the Sportsman Casino in Marylebone. She hid £550 in her sock to try to smuggle it past security, but had been spotted on CCTV swiping the money.
Southwark crown court heard Clarke, from East Molesey, blamed the theft on a “fit of pique” at being demoted from her senior position at the casino.
Her barrister, Michael Riley, said Clarke, who pleaded guilty to one count of theft last month, had also had to face the shame of telling her family, including her father, what she had done.
“She comes from a distinguished family who served this country at levels of extreme importance and responsibility in the armed forces,” he said.
“She had to face the indignity not only of coming to the crown court, but to deal with these matters with her father, a distinguished member of the British Army, retired, in respect of what could only be described as a complete moment of madness.”
Prosecutor Arizona Asante said Clarke was caught stealing on August 17 last year. “She appeared to separate a mixture of notes, holding some with her index finger, and then she was seen to pass the notes from the right hand to her left hand,” he said.
“Ultimately she hid the notes between her fingers, and then put the money into a sock she was wearing.”
Mr Riley told the court Clarke had suffered a leg injury that meant she was unable to fulfil her normal role as a senior supervisor and was instead working in the count team. “She had served the company since the age of 18 in various capacities and had risen through the ranks, but in 2016, as a result of problems with her health, she had effectively been demoted,” he said.
Mr Riley said Clarke had got into a “dispute” with her manager about her demotion and promotion of younger staff on the day of the incident.
“That is her explanation why she did it, in a fit of pique,” he said.
“It is totally impossible to explain what she did other than dissatisfaction at how she had been treated by the company over the injury to her leg and the demotion she suffered.”
He added that Clarke, who has no previous convictions, was also dealing with the ill health of her parents-in-law at the time.
Sentencing her to a 12-month community order including 140 hours of community service, Recorder Michael Kent QC told her: “You acted in breach of trust during the course of your employment.”
He ordered Clarke to pay the £500 costs of the case and an £85 victim surcharge.
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