A woman has been charged with theft after picking up a £20 note in a convenience store.
CCTV captured the unfortunate moment Nicole Bailey found the score in a cash machine that had been left behind by a previous customer.
She had no idea who the money belonged to and decided to pocket the cash. To be fair to her, who wouldn’t have?
The 23-year-old left the One Stop convenience store with the money in her pocket but was pulled up by police after the man who’d withdrawn and forgotten the cash complained to staff at the store.
Magistrates at the North Staffordshire Justice Centre were told by Prosecutor Ruth Bentley:
Staff checked the CCTV which showed a female pick up the £20 note from a display in the store.
The manager recognised the woman, who was a regular customer.
Police were sent out to the home of Bailey who attended a voluntary interview. She initially denied taking the cash but later admitted it after viewing the CCTV footage.
Bailey pleaded guilty to theft and was handed a six-month conditional discharge, meaning she’ll not be in any more legal trouble if she doesn’t break the law in the next six months. She was also ordered to pay £175 in courtcosts and charges.
Simon Dykes, defending Bailey, said:
She didn’t know who the money belonged to.
People don’t realise picking up something you have found amounts to a theft. She has been quite naïve in doing so.
Although this is an extremely unique criminal case in that countless people have picked up cash that isn’t theirs and kept it, Staffordshire Police were quick to remind the public of the definition of theft.
Chief Inspector Karen Stevenson from Stoke South LPT said the definition is ‘the dishonst appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it’.
She later encouraged the public who may pick up money that is not theirs to do the honest thing and try and find the owner.
And that’s how you can be prosecuted for picking up lost cash.