Lincoln tea room employee ordered to pay back almost £20k to her boss

A tea room manageress who stole thousands of pounds from her employer has been ordered to repay almost £20,000.

Lucy Hockney, who stole cash while working at Grayz Tea Rooms in the Bailgate area of Lincoln, was ruled to have benefitted from her crimes by £19,211.

At a hearing at Lincoln Crown Court brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act she was ordered to pay the money within three months or face a 12 month prison sentence. The money is to be paid as compensation to her former employer Grayz Ltd.

Mark Watson, prosecuting, said that Hockney’s assets came to more than the benefit of crime figure.

He told the court: “The money is available in excess of that.”

Mr Watson said that Hockney has £20,119 available from the equity she has in a property in Browning Drive, Lincoln.

At a hearing in May Hockney, a 38-year-old mother of two, of Nettleham Road, Lincoln, admitted theft from her employer.

She was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years with a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 10 days.

The court was told at the earlier hearing that discrepancies came to light in August 2016 when the accounts showed takings were down in the previous year when the owner Nola Hughes believed they had gone up.

Mrs Hughes requested a full audit be carried out and that revealed that more than £15,000 had been stolen.

Hockney was then confronted and admitted taking the money.

Edna Leonard, the prosecutor at the May hearing said: “The defendant worked at Grayz Tea Rooms from 2012 to January of this year.

“She started working as a waitress and was promoted to assistant manager and ultimately to manager for the last 18 months.

“She presented as a very good, capable and trustworthy person.

“Mrs Hughes said she treated her like a daughter. The defendant was trusted to the extent that she had complete control over the finances and even had a company credit card.

“Mrs Hughes says that the defendant’s betrayal has left her worried about the state of the company’s finances.

“But she has stated that she does not want to see Lucy Hockney jailed.”

The court was told that as a result of the money being stolen the business now has an overdraft wheareas it would have been financially sound had Hockney not taken the money.

David Eager, in mitigation, said that Hockney had no previous convictions and at the time of the thefts was suffering from depression triggered by matrimonial problems.

He said that Hockney is currently receiving counselling for her depression and he added: “She has shown clear and demonstrable remorse.”