A former Boots employee has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and ordered to pay £2,000 compensation.

Russell Libranda, 42 from Hanworth Road in Hounslow was convicted on August 16, for stealing £16,000 in cash from the till as he served customers.

Police and store security watched hours of CCTV footage for a month in order to compile 130 clips of Mr Libranda pocketing money.

Jon Houston, PC Investigating Officer said: “When we arrived at Libranda’s flat it was patent that he had been living well beyond the means of a shop assistant.

“Libranda had evidently been living in a lavish fashion.

“His flat was packed with designer clothes and jewellery, numerous iPhones, computers and an expensive TV - we also found a shoulder bag, filled with £6,000 in cash, down the side of his wardrobe.”

Mr Libranda resigned in 2018, after security officers at the Heathrow Airport branch reported him to police on November 28, after becoming aware of a shortfall in takings, and spotting his criminal actions on CCTV.

Detectives from the Met Police Aviation Command’s Crime Squad took three hours to arrest Mr Libranda and raided his one-bedroom flat after obtaining a search warrant.

Cash found inside the flat was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act and it was subsequently forfeited.

Libranda transferred to the branch on Saturday 13 October 2018.

Over that weekend, he stole almost £700.

PC Houston said: “Libranda’s confidence quickly escalated.

"In his first full week at the branch he stole £3,500 and by week five he was taking almost £5,000.

"When I watched the CCTV, I was stunned to see he was doing this in view of customers and colleagues, who were distracted.”

On 4 June Libranda pleaded guilty to one count of theft by employee, relating to all £16,191 he stole.

PC Houston added: “The sad reality is that sometimes staff at shops try to steal from their employers, but the security at this store did an excellent job of identifying Libranda as the perpetrator once they were aware that something was amiss.

“The Met has a really strong relationship with Heathrow Airport and the companies operating there, so staff have the confidence to report any suspicious activity to us.

“We continue to work closely with security across the airport, to keep it safe from all types of crime, including thefts like these.”