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‘Most wanted’ is sent down

A THIEF who stole £20,000 from her employers in Solihull and Nechells - ending up on a UK Most Wanted list - has been jailed for 14 months.

A THIEF who stole £20,000 from her employers in Solihull and Nechells - ending up on a UK Most Wanted list - has been jailed for 14 months.

Sarah Hunt, 34, from Tamworth, managed two undisclosed restaurants at the Touchwood shopping centre and Star City leisure complex.

In May 2002 she made off with takings and then falsified accounts to try and cover her tracks.

While awaiting trial in 2004, Hunt then fled the country and is believed to have gone to ground in the Costa Del Sol in Spain.

Detectives teamed up with Interpol in an attempt to track her down and although they made contact with the defendant a number of times, she refused to return to the UK.

And in a further attempt to throw police off the scent, Hunt changed her name to Sarah Hopkins.

But the force’s persistence paid off and earlier this year, the thief was finally apprehended in Malaga. She was returned to the UK and pleaded guilty to the charges.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Wallis, from the West Midlands Police economic crime team, said: “This lady had abused the trust of her employer and stole a substantial amount of money.

“She was happy to leave a cloud of suspicion over other employees at the restaurants and skip bail to Spain.

“The tenacity and fairness of the officer tasked with locating her has resulted in this successful sentence .We gave her every opportunity to surrender herself but she declined.”

Hunt was sentenced on Wednesday at Birmingham Crown Court.

* If you suspect someone of being involved in crime or living off the proceeds of their own or others criminality, call West Midlands Police on 0845 113 5000 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

 

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