Shoplifter made more than £500,000 returning stolen items for cash to Midland stores

Narinder Kaur Credit: BPM Media

A career criminal who made more than half-a-million pounds after tricking stores into handing over refunds for items she never bought has been convicted of a "lucrative" scam.

Narinder Kaur - also known as Nina Tiara - "shoplifted on an industrial scale" after travelling across the country to cheat stores out of their cash.

The 53-year-old "made it her full-time career" to pinch items from high street shops - including across the Midlands - before fraudulently claiming refunds she was not entitled to.

The serial shoplifter defrauded a string of shops more than 1,000 times during her four-year plot, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Now the fraudster faces time behind bars for her scheme.

Giovanni D’Alessandro, senior Crown prosecutor at CPS West Midlands, said: "Kaur undertook fraud on a long-standing and wide-ranging manner.

"It was a very lucrative full-time job which demonstrably made her over half a million pounds over this period of offending.

"She went to extraordinary lengths to carry out her deceptions, seeking to find a way of defrauding a retailer and then travelling all over the country to replicate the fraud.

Kaur inside TK Maxx Credit: BPM Media

"She also changed her name legally and opened new bank accounts and credit cards in a second identity to avoid detection.

"She now righty faces a significant sentence for her crimes and the prosecution will look to recoup as many of her ill-gotten gains as the law allows."

Kaur, of Chosen Hill, Cleverton, Wiltshire, was convicted by jurors of a total of 26 counts including fraud, possessing and transferring criminal property and perverting the course of justice.

She was convicted on March 10, following a four-month trial at Gloucester Crown Court.

The offences took place between July 2015 and February 2019. Prosecutors said Kaur had a number of bank and credit card accounts.

An investigation found she visited Boots stores across the UK - including in Dudley, Smethwick, Droitwich and Kidderminster.

The 53-year-old "made it her full-time career" to pinch items from high street shops Credit: BPM Media

She received £60,787.09 in refunds from Boots despite only spending £5,172.73 at its stores.

The convict was handed £42,853.65 in refunds from Debenhams despite spending only £3,681.33.

She also defrauded John Lewis, visiting stores including those in Birmingham and Tamworth.

The defendant received £33,131.61 in refunds but only spent £5,290.36.

The court heard how Kaur visited Monsoon stores - including Telford and Shrewsbury - and claimed £23,000 more in refunds than in payments made for purchases.

She went on to target House of Fraser stores, spending £2,853.55 but claiming £23,147.75 in refunds. The Birmingham store was one of a number which she visited.

Fraudster Kaur defrauded Homesense stores in Stafford, Shrewsbury, Cannock, Solihull and Worcester, among others.

There she spent just £1,181.45 but claimed £19,540.17 in refunds.

TK Maxx was defrauded of £14,563.53, while she cheated Homebase out of £3,238.47, the CPS said.

Kaur's offending also saw her defraud Wiltshire Council of £7,400.

She used stolen credit cards to pay for services before asking the council for refunds. She would claim she had accidentally made a payment 'with too many zeros'.

Her scam even included a male accomplice who helped her use stolen bank card details to make payments to her own heating oil supplier.

The court was told Kaur lied to the court and produced a fake document to dodge being convicted of speeding offences and relax bail conditions.

About £150,000 in cash was found hidden in her home, along with stolen goods, when police scoured it for evidence.

The CPS said it was able to prove Kaur was behind the scheme after gathering financial data, retail records, witness evidence and CCTV footage.

The fraudster was spotted on CCTV entering stores, pinching items from shleves and taking them to the till, pretending she had bought them previously.

Examination of her accounts proved she was doing this hundreds of times, the CPS added.