A married couple have escaped jail despite a nine-year campaign to rob the small independent butcher’s shop where they worked, which netted them £230,000.

Kevin and Brenda Quirk, both in their 50s, of Buckhurst Hill, were given suspended sentences after they were found guilty of cheating the Stratford store. Seven other employees were found not guilty.

Between 2006 and 2015, the Quirks ran a second bogus till at Dewhursts in The Mall, which handled cash-only sales. Mr Quirk, the manager of the shop, and his wife Mrs Quirk, the company’s sales supervisor, cashed up the second till, pocketing the proceeds for themselves, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.

Kevin Quirk

They were finally rumbled when suspicious store owner Roy Cook employed a private detective to visit the shop and film the transactions taking place. He also called the police who arrested the couple in 2015 and found cash at their Buckhurst Hill home.

Mr Quirk said the second till was used for “beer money” for staff but refused to explain further. They both pleaded not guilty and received orders to carry out community service.

Investigating officer Det Con Georgina Black said: “This crime is particularly horrible because the Quirks abused their position of trust and stole thousands of pounds for their own personal gain. They have shown no remorse for their crime and have failed to admit their guilt throughout.”