A SHOP worker has been locked up for a fraud that netted him more than £20,000.

Ben Miller sent refunds for clothes supposedly bought from a Colchester fashion store to his own bank account.

By the time matters came to light, Miller had got away with more than £22,000 from Monsoon, in Culver Square.

Miller, 20, was told by a Chelmsford Crown Court judge it had been a serious breach of trust and custody was inevitable.

Miller was sent to a young offenders’ institution for 12 months.

The court heard the Colchester branch of the fashion group had been put on a “red list” as there had been problems at the store.

A probe was launched and CCTV was scrutinised.

One refund involving a £600 dress was examined and it was discovered the item had been bought via the internet.

Miller processed a refund but the CCTV showed there was no customer at the till at the time – and no dress, John Livingstone, prosecuting, said.

Miller admitted he had carried out 38 refunds over the previous six months and had paid the money into his bank account.

The total amount involved was £22,385, the court heard.

Miller, of King George Road, Colchester, admitted fraud between July last year and January.

Recorder Philip Brook Smith QC told him: “You represented to your employer that these refunds were genuine and you were able to put money in your account, which was used to enhance your lifestyle.

“Your employer trusted you as an employee of long standing, some four years.

“It was a serious breach of trust.”

Evelyn Hicks, mitigating, said Miller was deeply ashamed of his behaviour.

She said: “This was to afford him a lifestyle, but it spiralled out of control. He did not think things through.”