Boots cleaner stole £20k of perfume to fund heroin addiction

A cleaner stole up to £20,000 worth of perfume and fragrances from her employer to buy heroin.

Nikola Minova, who worked at a Boots store through an employment agency, took 237 bottles of fragrances values between £15,000 and £20,000, according to Stoke-on-Trent Live.

Managers identified the 34-year-old as the thief after reviewing CCTV footage, with police later discovering a carrier bag full of perfume hidden behind a bath panel after carrying out a search of the offender's home.

Minova was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Prosecutor Jonathan Barker said the defendant was working as a cleaner at Boots, Hanley, in August and September last year.

Mr Barker said: "In September last year perfumes had gone missing. That led to staff analysing CCTV.

The analysis showed the defendant had stolen many bottles of fragrances, the total we say is 237 bottles, valued at £15,000 to £20,000.

"When the defendant's address was searched a carrier bag containing perfume was found hidden behind a bath panel."

Boots cleaner stole £20k of perfume to fund heroin addiction

Minova, of Manifiold Walk, Bentilee, pleaded guilty to theft by an employee.

The court heard the defendant has had a long-standing addiction to heroin and has now been prescribed methadone.

Representing herself, the defendant who spoke through a Czech interpreter, said: "I regret very much what I have done and I would very much appreciate a last chance. I struggle to express myself because I am so sorry about all this."

As part of the suspended sentence Minova must complete a rehabilitation activity requirement for 25 days and a six month drug rehabilitation requirement.

Recorder Anthony Warner said: "You stole a very large number of bottles of fragrances or perfume. That was a great breach of trust.

"You were found with some of it secreted at your home behind a bath panel.

"The pre-sentence report tells me you have had a problem with an addiction to heroin going back quite a long time.

"You told the probation officer you could not pay your rent and bills and you had a considerable daily habit of £50 for heroin at the time.

"I have decided because of the realistic possibility of rehabilitation in your case, notwithstanding the seriousness of the offence, I am able to suspend the sentence."

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