Beds, Herts & Bucks

Supermarket worker stole 'to escape Muslim parents'

An attendant at a supermarket's filling station in Hertfordshire stole £7,775 in a bid to escape his strict Muslim parents, a court has heard.

Abu-Bakr Shaikh had been entrusted to put the money in the safe at Morrisons, St Albans. He later broke a window to make it look like a burglary on 26 May.

The 21-year-old, of Sutton Road, St Albans, admitted theft and criminal damage on 26 May.

Town magistrates sentenced him on Wednesday to 150 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard Shaikh told police he was going to use the money to leave home and follow his dream of becoming a mechanic, which his parents disapproved of.

Money in sofa

Lynette Woodrow, prosecuting, said he had worked at the filling station for 18 months and it was his responsibility to put the takings in the safe at night and lock up.

After closing the filling station on the evening of the offence, he stuffed bundles of notes totalling £7,775 into his jacket pocket.

He hid the cash in his sofa and returned to the store in the early hours of the morning with a hammer, Ms Woodrow said.

The court heard he moved a CCTV camera to face upwards and smashed a hole in the toughened glass of the petrol station window to make it look like there had been a break in.

Ms Woodrow said staff became suspicious and Shaikh admitted being the culprit.

'Extremely religious'

He told police where the money was and that he was "depressed" due to his family life and financial difficulties.

His "extremely religious" family forced Shaikh to observe a 2230 BST curfew, which meant going home straight from work, the court heard.

He was not allowed friends round and had no social life apart from going to work, magistrates were told.

He told police he wanted the money he had stolen to move out and pay for a mechanics course, which his parents disapproved of.

Finbarr Cuneen, defending, said Shaikh was under an "extremely strict regime" at home.

"There was a build up of pressure which led to this act which is completely out of character," he said.

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