Queen’s Park thief stole money from Tesco branch in Edgware Road

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard Winston Sinclair duped staff into handing over till keys

A cheeky thief stole hundreds of pounds from a Tesco till after persuading a security guard to give him the keys, a court heard.

Winston Sinclair, of Dowland Street, Queen’s Park, tricked staff into believing he was a repairman after turning up within hours of the store reporting a broken till.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard it is thought to be a freak coincidence the 42-year-old, who had previously worked as a repairman, tried the scam on the same day as there was a real fault.

He was arrested after staff realised cash had been stolen, and called the police when he returned to try his luck again the following week.

Lily Riza, prosecuting, said staff at a branch of Tesco in Edgware Road, Marylebone, called repair company NCR to report a defective till on July 4 this year.

She said: “Some time later, the defendant arrived and stated he was working for National Cash Registers.

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“The security guard got him to sign for the key, and he was seen opening the till.”

After he left, managers realised the till was �1,340 short, and after watching CCTV footage realised they had been duped.

Sinclair returned to the same branch eight days later on July 12, again saying he was there to fix a broken till.

Police were called, and later found he had snatched some �640.

A probation report said the cocaine-user, who now works for an IT firm, had been in �4,000 of debt.

Natasha Sammy, defending, said Sinclair regretted the thefts, and had already repaid Tesco �30.

Sinclair, who admitted two counts of theft, was ordered to pay �1,300 compensation to the supermarket chain, and �85 towards prosecution costs.

He must also attend a six-month drug rehabilitation course and undergo a year of supervision by probation.