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Seized exhibits staffer filleted £15,000 from uncounted cash bags

Thefts involving exhibit bags contained cash that “had not been counted yet for evidential reasons”

A Dorset police staff member responsible for logging seized exhibits has been sentenced to two years in prison for theft of cash from the force.

Lisa Arnold, 52, had previously pleaded guilty to the offence on Wednesday 7 December 2022 at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court.

Concerns were first raised in June 2020 with the Force’s Counter Corruption Unit, reporting that an exhibit bag containing cash had been tampered with. Subsequently, further incidents were identified involving exhibit bags containing cash that “had not been counted yet for evidential reasons,” according to the force.

The completion of proactive audits of a property store revealed further tampered items.

Bournemouth Crown Court was told on 17 occasions, Arnold took a total of £14,494.20 in seized cash which, in mitigation, was suggested was used to fuel her 'shopping addiction'.

Arnold had worked at Dorset Police since 2016 before being transferred to the exhibits department in 2018. Her role as a property researcher saw her responsible for logging exhibits of seized items - often involving cash in clear plastic envelopes.

Cash held within these envelopes was often ‘uncounted’ and marked as such.

In a police interview, Arnold said she would ‘look for uncounted exhibits of cash and open the envelope from the bottom’ she would then remove a quantity of cash and ‘reseal the envelope with sellotape’.

An investigation was undertaken by the Counter Corruption Unit to identify the individual involved, including financial checks and the inspection of access records to the relevant store areas. This led to Lisa Arnold being identified as the suspect. She was arrested in March 2022 and a search of her home address led to £15,000 in cash being seized.

Following the arrest, Arnold was immediately suspended from work and formally resigned from Dorset Police in May 2022.

Dorset Police Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “I hope that this investigation demonstrates that we will robustly investigate suspected wrongdoing by members of our organisation and undertake swift action."

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