ASDA self-analysis fraudster ordered to repay every penny of £4,001 he scammed – but is spared jail

A fraudster who stole £4,001 worth of goods from a self-scan racket at ASDA supermarkets has been ordered to pay back every penny – but avoided being sent to jail. Kenneth Hollis committed the first theft accidentally after selecting carrier bags at checkout and pressing the payment option, without scanning his purchases first.

When the 43-year-old realized he had ‘got away’, he left the store and embarked on a four-month series of frauds targeting five different stores, as bailiffs left him sued for debts. But an ASDA analyst tracked his scheme which ultimately led to his arrest.

At an earlier hearing, Hollis, of Vicarage Prospect, Dudley, admitted five charges of fraud by false representation and one offense of driving without insurance. Yesterday, Tuesday April 12, at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, he was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

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He was also told to complete a “thinking skills” program and 30 days of rehabilitation activity. He was ordered to pay ASDA £4,001 in compensation.

Between October last year and January this year, Hollis stole £322 worth of goods from a Dudley store, £1,186 worth of items from a branch in Birmingham, £893 worth of goods from Tipton’s supermarket, £795 worth of ‘Oldbury and £805 worth of goods from the Halesowen branch. The insurance breach was committed on January 8 on Halesowen Queensway.

Prosecutor Neelam Shafiq said: “The fraud took place over four months. It was brought to light by an analyst from the ASDA Intelligence Center who found discrepancies in a number of stories from the ASDA.

Kenneth Hollis leaves Birmingham Magistrates’ Court

“Mr. Hollis allegedly committed these acts. He walked into the stores as a customer, selected items from the stores, put them in the cart and then went to the self-checkout.

“He selected the bags at checkout by scanning those bags, then clicking ‘complete and pay’, bypassing the scales. He proceeded to pack the items without scanning them, then left the stores.”

Defending Sam Christopher said: “Why did he do this? He bought purchases from ASDA. Initially he first scanned the bags and pressed payment to complete the transaction.

“He should have told the store but didn’t and realized he could get away with a fraud. He was struggling.

“He was paying off his debts. He had rent arrears and bailiffs were involved. He solved that. He went around to the local ASDA who got away with it. To his credit since it came to light , he did everything right.

“He raised his hand during an interview. He pleaded guilty.”

Mr Christopher added that Hollis had been ‘scammed’ on Facebook and thought he had paid to insure his car, but in fact he had not. District Judge David Murray said: “This is a serious fraud over several months. You used a motor vehicle at least once that was uninsured.

The court was told the crime was “sophisticated and sustained”.

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