Jacqueline Fletcher, 48, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court to receive her sentence after pleading guilty to four counts of theft at a hearing in July 2018.
Fletcher, of Boundary Walk, Rotherham, admitted one count of theft from South Yorkshire Police (SYP), two counts of theft from the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) and one count of theft from the person of another.
Fletcher was sentenced to two years and eight months for the first count, 12 months for the second and third counts to run concurrently, and 18 months for the fourth count, also to run concurrently.
In 2013, a large quantity of cash was seized as part of a police investigation and placed into the property store at Attercliffe Police Station, Sheffield, where Fletcher was employed as Property Store Team Leader.
As part of her role, Fletcher was responsible for managing cash within the store. She informed the officer in charge of the investigation she had counted the cash and banked the money in the force account. In reality, Fletcher had banked £98,500 into her own bank account and only £1,500 into the force account. She subsequently left SYP in 2015.
The theft came to light in summer 2017, when a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) investigation connected to the seized money requested the cash. When it couldn’t be found, an investigation was launched.
This led to the discovery that Fletcher had stolen £63,548 in pension and allowance benefits from the DWP between October 2011 and July 2016. The benefit payments were for her mother, who was in a care home, to be used for fees and associated costs. No fees were ever paid.
Officers then found that in 2011, Fletcher received £116,527 from the sale of her mother’s property. The proceeds were intended to cover care home fees. Of this money, £68,624.26 was paid towards the fees, with about £15,000 given to another family member.
The remaining amount was spent by Fletcher and resulted in the charge of theft from the person of another.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Anna Sedgwick said: “While Fletcher admitted her crimes before a court last month, she has not shown any remorse for her deceitful and criminal behaviour.
“She abused the trust placed in her by the force, as well as exploiting her vulnerable elderly mother, for massive sums of money. Her conduct has been truly despicable and I am pleased she has now received a custodial sentence for her crimes.
“Despite our best efforts throughout the course of our investigation, we have not been able to recover any of the money Fletcher stole. A POCA investigation is ongoing.
“The public of South Yorkshire absolutely expect our employees to behave professionally, honestly and with integrity. Fletcher has behaved disgracefully and I hope the public are reassured by the action taken by our officers to thoroughly investigate this matter and hold this individual to account.”
Chief Superintendent Shaun Morley, who was District Commander for Sheffield at the time Fletcher’s crimes came to light, provided a victim impact statement for the courts highlighting the impact of Fletcher’s crime against the organisation.
He said: “This case has had two major impacts on South Yorkshire Police.
“Financially, the impact of Fletcher’s theft is significant, especially in times of austerity. To place the theft of £98,500 into context, this could pay for four newly appointed Police Constables for a whole year.
“The public can have every confidence that the swift and decisive action taken by our officers to investigate this matter once it was brought to our attention demonstrates our commitment to upholding the law and bringing criminals to justice, regardless of where they work or have worked previously.”