A FORMER Sainsbury’s boss in charge of detecting fraud has been jailed for a year after stealing thousands of pounds from her employer.

Alison Potts, 51, was commercial manager of the store where her duties included detecting fraud by employees.

But instead she used her knowledge of the Altrincham branch’s financial systems to take around £6,900.

At an earlier hearing, Minshull Crown Court heard she had appeared to pocket around £200 donated by her co-workers to a local Afghanistan veteran, whose grandparents worked at the branch.

Potts took charge of the collection but when the veteran’s family asked her about the money they were ‘fobbed off’, Judge Bernard Lever said.

It was eventually given to them by a member of staff, who was told by Potts to take the money from the till.

Potts, of Bailey Walk, Bowdon, was convicted of two counts of fraud and two of theft at an earlier trial.

Sentencing, Judge Lever branded her crimes ‘despicable’.

He added: “Your disgrace has been very public and very high profile owing to the delay in paying the young man who was so cruelly injured in Afghanistan.”

Rachel Faux, defending, said her client could not recall what she had done with the cash but had not lived an extravagant lifestyle.

She said: “She regrets the loss of her good character. She has had a number of personal problems and a background of family tragedy.”

Prosecutor Alexander Leach said some of the £6,900 taken by Potts using the refund system, may have been legitimate so it was difficult to discern the exact sum taken.