An investment banker and her husband have been handed suspended jail sentences after admitting stealing £61,400 from a faulty HSBC cash machine in Essex.
Former Northern Trust banker Joanne Jones, 33, discovered last year that the ATM, located at a Waitrose supermarket in Billericay, paid out even though she was overdrawn, with the withdrawals not showing up on her HSBC statement, Basildon crown court heard.
From March last year, Jones and her husband Darren visited the cash machine to make over 300 withdrawals in 88 days. On one day they took £1250 in five minutes, while on another occasion they withdrew £2400 in 10 minutes, the court heard.
According to press reports, the couple were caught after HSBC, suspecting cash delivery guards from Group 4 Security of stealing the money, installed CCTV cameras.
The reason for the fault with the machine, which has since been fixed, was its age, prosecutor Alan Jackson said. "Very few" other people benefited from the glitch because most people in Billericay were not overdrawn.
The couple used some of the money to buy luxury clothes, stay at hotels and put a deposit on a sports car.
When police raided the couple's home they found over £27,000 in envelopes marked "holiday money", "car money", "clothes money", "kitchen money" and "baby money".
The pair admitted the theft and have been handed nine month suspended sentences, put on probation for two years and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work. Joanne Jones lost her job after pleading guilty.