Shop worker gave burglar store plans ahead of £7,000 raid on safe

The Coop store in Stockton Road, Hartlepool. Picture Google Maps.
The Coop store in Stockton Road, Hartlepool. Picture Google Maps.

A trusted shopworker drew detailed floor plans of a supermarket to enable an accomplice to steal the day’s takings from the safe.

Jacqueline McNeilly gave Kevin Brown a description of where the safe and its key was kept in exchange for a share of the money, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Kevin Brown.

Kevin Brown.

The plan unravelled because Brown’s mobile phone was already being monitored in connection with other offences, and detectives were able to establish he took a taxi to McNeilly’s street immediately after the burglary.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said: “Examination of CCTV footage from inside the store showed the burglar forcing the door of an administration office, then going straight to a cabinet in which there were keys.

“He selected one key from ten, which was the key to the safe.

“He opened the safe, and took the contents which was £7,460 in cash.”

The court heard the intruder was in the building for two minutes.

“The speed and slickness of the burglary led police to suspect it was an inside job,” added Ms Khan.

Police identified the intruder as Kevin Brown and information from his mobile phone revealed he took a taxi from the burglary to the same street as the home of McNeilly.

“Inquiries in the street identified her as an employee of the shop, and a search of her house found the shop plans in her handwriting, with her fingerprints on them,” she added.

“The manager of the shop said later McNeilly had told him a week earlier she was due to come into some money from a television game show or inheritance.”

McNeilly, 49, of Kintra Road, Hartelpool, admitted burglary on November 10 last year.

Nicci Horton, defending, said in mitigation: “At the time, she was suffering from depression, and she was being pressed for drugs debts which had been run up by one of her sons.

“She was also in rent arrears herself, so foolishly took the decision to help Mr Brown as a way out.

“She has lost the job she loved.”

Judge Peter Armstrong sentenced McNeilly to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, including 100 hours of community work, and 15 days of rehabilitation activity.

Brown, 38, of Wynyard Mews, Hartlelpool was jailed for six years and eight months at an earlier hearing for the shop burglary, robbery, and several other offences.