Couple stole £1.2K worth of booze and perfume from Heathrow Airport

A MARRIED couple helped themselves to £1,200 worth of booze and perfume from an airport duty free shop where she worked.

Freeda Rodrigues, 24, and 23-year-old Flester Gomes (pictured) swiped luxury items — including Chanel perfume and £200 bottles of Johnny Walker whiskey — from the World Duty Free store inside Heathrow Airport's Terminal 2 last February, magistrates were told.

The couple, originally from India, worked with a third man who posed as a customer buying the items as Rodrigues pretended to put them through the till, Uxbridge Magistrates' Court heard.

The third person, who was not charged, then met Gomes outside and offloaded the goods.

Airport security cottoned on to the scheme when a manager noticed a £200 till discrepancy and reviewed CCTV to see Rodridgues walking around the shop with the third man picking out items.

The court heard how the footage then showed her putting one bottle of £200 whisky through the till but did not take payment.

Paul Stimson, prosecuting, told magistrates’ Rodrigues initially claimed it was a 'misunderstanding' when quizzed by cops.

But the items turned up during a search of the couple's home in Hounslow, west London.

Mr Stimson said: 'The prosecution’s case was that this was all planned. This was sophisticated offending.

'No money was ever handed over, hence the till discrepancy.

'The man was seen to meet Mr Gomes and hand over the items that were taken.

'Searches at their addresses later revealed the fragrances and the whisky.'

Rodrigues pleaded guilty to a single charge of theft by an employee, while Gomes admitted handling stolen goods and a charge of entering a restricted area of the airport.

Sentencing the couple, Chairman of the Bench Gillian Mansbridge told them they were close to a jail term.

But she ordered Gomes to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work for handling stolen goods and handed him a fine of £1,000 for entering a restricted area of the airport.

She ordered Rodrigues to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work and to pay £1,611 in compensation.

Ms Mansbridge told them: 'Make no mistake, you have been very, very lucky. This is a very serious offence.'