Muswell Hill dad jailed for Nectar point theft

James Stevenson used “loophole” to buy �8,000-worth of goods

A MUSWELL Hill father-of-two who stole �81,000 worth of Nectar card points has been jailed for 20 months.

James Stevenson, 45, of Alexandra Park Road was jailed at the Old Bailey on Friday after finding a “loophole” in the system that rewards customers of stores such as Sainsbury’s with points that can be redeemed at a later date.

Stevenson, an IT manager for the supermarket chain set up accounts for the reward card scheme using false names and credited them with �81,000 of points - he admitted using some of them to purchase a total of �8,120 of goods from the store.

Points for the scheme can be redeemed at a wide range of stores as well as on the Eurostar and at Alton Towers - five hundred points are worth �2.50.

At a previous hearing, Stevenson, who worked at the supermarket’s headquarters in Holborn, pleaded guilty to fraud and theft.

The Old Bailey heard that he had worked for the company for 20 years and had access to the computer systems which operate the Nectar Card.

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Between November 2002 and May 2003 and October 2007 and December 2009, Stevenson added points to at least 18 accounts that he had created using the names of famous DJs.

The court heard how he would go on test runs to the supermarket, using the points to buy one item first. If the purchase passed unnoticed, he would go back and fill a trolley.

Edward McKiernan, prosecuting, said that when Stevenson’s fraud was discovered by Sainsbury’s, he told them he had “discovered a loophole in the system”.

Mr McKiernan added: “There wasn’t a proper check in place. He was a trusted employee so no-one was looking over his shoulder.”

Sentencing him to 20 months behind bars, Judge Peter Thornton told Stevenson: “Your motive was clearly greed. This was a carefully-planned, well-worked fraud on Sainsbury’s.”

Stevenson was also ordered to repay Sainsbury’s �8,120.