Shop assistant systematically stole almost £16,000 worth of clothing from employers to pay drug debt

Shop assistant systematically stole almost £16,000 worth of clothing from employers to pay drug debt

by Danielle Thompson (April 2021)

A young shop assistant systematically stole almost £16,000 worth of clothing from his employers to pay his drug debt.


Owen Taylor felt “under some degree of pressure and some fear” because of the debt to his dealer and so began a campaign of theft.


19-year-old Taylor appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on April 21 and after hearing that the new dad had readily admitted his guilt and has matured since the offences came to light a judge imposed a suspended prison sentence.


He also ordered that the defendant, of Athole Grove, Southport, £1,500 compensation to his former employers.


Ken Grant, prosecuting, told the court that Taylor began working for the Cavern Walks Menswear shop in Liverpool in August 2019 and turned up each day with a black bag in which he carried a change of clothing.


Just before Christmas that year the on-line site manager expressed concern to the owner Marc Bell that he could not find an item he wanted to sell but as it was busy time of year the matter was not then pursued.


In January the manager reported an issue about  t-shirts stock numbers and Mr Bell “became concerned that something was not right about stock levels and suspected an employee was taking items from the store.


“However he did not want to accuse any of the staff before he had evidence what items had been stolen.”


On January 21 Taylor said he was leaving his job and Mr Bell reviewed CCTV footage from the shop from that day and saw he had been moving his bag from location to location in the store.


“Mr Bell could see that the defendant was using CCTV blind spots in the store to put Missoni t-shirts from one location to another from where he placed them in his bag. It was obvious that the weight of the bag had increased significantly when leaving the store at the end of the day,” said Mr Grant.


Mr Bell rang him asking him to come to the shop of February 15 and when confronted Taylor readily admitted, “I am sorry I have taken stuff. I had a drugs debt I needed to pay off and used the items I have taken to pay it off.”


He signed a list of items he had stolen which Mr Bell estimated were worth a total of 



When interviewed he was frank saying how he had taken steps not to be caught on CCTV. “He said he had not sold the items but handed them to three males whose names he could not disclose.”


Taylor, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to theft.


Judge David Potter said he accepted Taylor, who now has a baby son, was genuinely remorseful. He said he had clearly matured and comes from a very supportive family.


“I accept you could not have been more forthcoming to get these matters off your chest. You are now the father of a six-week-old child and have demonstrated considerable maturity in the course of the previous year or so.”


He sentenced Taylor to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and ordered him to carry out 100 hours unpaid work and 15 days rehabilitation activities.


Martine Snowden, defending, said he comes from a law abiding and hard working family and has been working in various roles since leaving the shop.


“This was an appalling piece of dishonest behaviour on his part. To his credit he could not have been more open when confronted by his employer and he had left the employment prior to the finger of suspicion being pointed at him.”


He committed the offence as it was the only way he could see of getting out of the situation he was in but appreciates he should not have done it. His father and other relatives have spoken about the change in him since the offence and how he has matured and is now a devoted dad.


“He has got very much a bright future. He hopes to get on a construction course to better his life,” she added.


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