Prescription opioid blamed in stealing as a servant case

Former Woolworths employee blamed her stealing spree at the shop on a prescription drug.
Former Woolworths employee blamed her stealing spree at the shop on a prescription drug.

A 44-year-old woman blamed the prescription opioid Tramadol for a stealing spree she committed while working at Woolworths.

Bernadette Penelope Barrallon pleaded guilty in Mandurah Magistrates Court to four counts of stealing as a servant.

The court heard Barrallon was employed at Woolworths Miami when she committed the offences.

Barrallon accessed the till she was working at on June 9 and placed $50 in her pocket.

Management spoke to Barrallon � who had worked for Woolworths for five years � about the offence, but did not fire her.

On June 22, she did the same thing, but this time put $100 in her pocket.

On June 29, Barrallon took another $100 and on June 30, stole $50.

Management conducted an audit of the till and realised more money was missing.

The duty lawyer representing Barrallon asked for a spent conviction for her client, who had a clean criminal record before these offences.

She said Barrallon had been taking Tramadol since February and had returned to work shortly before the incidents occurred.

The lawyer said Barrallon accepted responsibility for the offences, but did not remember committing them.

Magistrate Michelle Pontifex said stealing as a servant is not a minor matter.

�It is viewed very seriously,� she said.

�When you are employed you are in a position of trust and an employer needs to trust you won�t steal from them.�

She refused to grant a spent conviction without personal references for Barrallon and letter from her GP.

The offences cost Barrallon $2988.50. Magistrate Pontifex fined Barrallon $500 for the first offence, $600 for the second, $700 for the third and $800 for the fourth.

Barrallon was ordered to pay $300 to Woolworths in restitution and to pay $88.50 in costs.

Magistrate Pontifex urged Barrallon to see a doctor about the side effects Tramadol was causing.