In the Media

Police community support officers 'stole from supermarket'

PUBLISHED September 12, 2012

Shane Alborough, 27, together with colleague James Nouchin, 31, was spotted pocketing goods while at a branch of Tesco in east London, a jury was told.

Nouchin was alleged to have been found with items in his jacket after picking up a chicken sandwich, apple juice, chocolate bars, nuts and facewash from the shelves.

The pair's haul was also said to include toilet cleaner, noodles, and bottled water, as well as a box of Finish "all in one" dishwasher tablets.

Alborough, of Romford, Essex, and Nouchin, of Ilford, Essex, each deny two counts of theft.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that Alborough - described by witnesses as "chubby" - was spotted by security staff with the Toblerone stuffed into his vest in December last year.

Both officers were searched when they returned to the store in Green Street, Upton Park the following day after they were seen taking further items without paying, the court was told.

"The defendants were seen by the store detective to select food, drink and cosmetic items from the store," said prosecutor Richard Berman.

"They walked past the tills making no attempt to pay for the items and went to the store canteen.

"This was a breach of company policy which applied to staff and visitors."

They were later discovered eating in the supermarket's canteen, where Nouchin had a sandwich and a drink on the table, while Alborough had the box of dishwasher tablets under his chair, he added.

The manager then ordered that both officers be searched.

"The crown say that from James Nouchin's jacket, a number of items were produced," said Mr Berman.

Jurors heard that the manager was "in a difficult position as she was not dealing with ordinary shoplifters".

She gave them a chance to pay for their items but Alborough had forgotten to bring his debit card and was unable to do so, Mr Berman said.

Nouchin paid for some of the items but put some, including the nuts, two chocolate bars and the face wash back on the shelf, which the manager "was not at all happy about", the prosecutor added.

When arrested, Alborough and Nouchin insisted it had always been their intention to pay later and that there was no dishonesty on their part.

They claimed they regularly took items from the shop floor and paid when they left, and they did not think it was wrong.

Mr Berman said that CCTV evidence showed how "something very similar" had happened the day before.

The pair had gone into the shop, selected items, and gone upstairs to the canteen, spending the best part of three hours there before they left without paying.

Alborough said he had left the goods in the canteen but forgot to pay for them while Nouchin said he had selected the items but did not want to buy them, and left them in the canteen, Mr Berman said.

The court heard that in relation to the bar of Toblerone, Alborough said: "By the time I realised I had it, I wasn't sure what to do." The trial continues.