A STUDENT who ‘systematically’ stole more than £20,000 from the high street chain where he worked has been jailed.

Mizael de Medeiros admitted stealing both money and goods from TK Maxx in Winchester just weeks after starting a job there.

Winchester Crown Court heard how the 26-year-old, a student at Winchester University, began stealing after no-one questioned him over a wrong refund.

He then went on to steal at least £23,000 through false refunds, and several hundred pounds in cash and items of clothes and jewellery between April and July.

However, Charles Gabb, prosecuting, told the court he did not accept that figure, the basis on which de Medeiros pleaded guilty, alleging it was in fact “in excess of £25,000”.

Mr Gabb added that on two occasions de Medeiros had worked with another man, who is yet to be identified, to steal from the store that had only been open in The Brooks Shopping Centre for a matter of weeks.

He also said that de Medeiros estimated stealing “one watch per shift, plus items of clothing and small items of jewellery” and used four bank account for his crimes.

Mitigating, Lance Whiteford said that when de Medeiros had come to England aged 15 “he couldn’t speak a word of English”, but he “worked hard” to gain qualifications and became the first member of his family to go to university.

Mr Whiteford added: “He is someone who expresses remorse. He is someone who acted out of greed.

“He wanted to stop, but he got used to the money.”

The court also heard that although de Medeiros, who has previous convictions for shoplifting in 2010 and 2011, spent some of the money on socialising, he gave money to his family and used it to pay off gambling debts.

Sentencing de Medeiros, of Church Lane, Kings Worthy, to a total of 16 months in prison, Judge Susan Evans QC said: “Over a period of some four months you systematically defrauded your employer.

“You started work in April and within weeks you began this course of dishonesty.

“You had worked hard to better yourself; no doubt you would have had a good future.”

Judge Evans also acknowledged that the prosecution did not accept the basis of plea.

De Medeiros was sentenced to 16 months in prison for fraudulently stealing money through false refunds, as well four months each for stealing cash and good, all of which will run concurrently.

A proceeds of crime hearing has been scheduled for January 24.