Lindsey Greechan (39), a former British Isles bowls champion who has competed in the Commonwealth Games, and Rupert John Huelin (58) appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday for sentencing after both admitting 11 counts of larceny.
The pair, who run Your Store at Green Island, committed the offences between 5 and 9 August last year, stealing groceries from the Co-op’s St Helier Grand Marché, Georgetown and Grouville shops.
Howard Tobias, police legal adviser, told the court that, having examined CCTV footage, the company estimated that the defendants had taken £711.62 worth of goods. No details about the items were given.
Advocate Julia-Ann Dix, representing Huelin, said her client had once been a very successful businessman but had become debt-ridden after developing a heart problem and being denied loans, which had forced him to sell four of his five shops.
‘He has made a very big mistake and recognises that what he has done is wrong. This is supported by his letter of remorse and the report from Probation. He fully regrets what has occurred,’ she said.
Meanwhile, Advocate Allana Binnie, representing Greechan, said her client had acted out of character, was remorseful and had been fully co-operative with police.
She added: ‘These offences were committed against a backdrop of significant financial strain and were for survival and not to fund a luxury lifestyle.’
Advocate Binnie said the pair’s financial difficulties had been exacerbated by a disruption in trading caused by the closure of the St Clement Coast Road and a fire at Your Store in September.
In sentencing, Relief Magistrate David Le Cornu said: ‘You, as shopkeepers, should know how this type of offence affects shops. I have heard all the mitigation and I am not going to repeat it but what I will say is that you came very close to going to prison.
‘I am sentencing you to 120 hours of community service, which is the equivalent to six months in prison. That is what I had in mind if I had not imposed community service today.’
Greechan and Huelin must also pay the Co-op £711.62 at £50 a week or face three weeks in prison.