A DORSET Police evidence officer stole £55,000 of cash seized from criminals to fund her shopping addiction and improve her self-esteem.

Lisa Arnold has been ordered to pay back more than £32,000 after stealing from her employer between October 2018 to March 2022.

The 53-year-old who was jailed for 24 months in January could have nine months added to her sentence if she does not pay back the money within 28 days.

Bournemouth Crown Court previously heard that as a property researcher, Arnold was responsible for logging exhibits of seized items, often involving cash in clear plastic envelopes.

Arnold, previously of Benlease Way in Swanage, would search for uncounted exhibits and remove cash before resealing the envelopes.

She previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft by an employee and admitted to stashing thousands of pounds of cash in her wardrobe before depositing it in her bank account.

On March 5, 2022, Arnold was arrested at her home address following a ‘complex investigation’ that discovered she had been paying ‘large sums of money’ into bank accounts.

The court heard that Arnold had been ‘sucked in by a shopping addiction’ while she was going through ‘a dramatic reduction in self-esteem'.

In a statement read at court, Dorset Police's former chief constable, Scott Chilton said the crime was not ‘victimless’ and that every offence committed by a member of the police force has a ‘devastating impact’ on public confidence.

At the time of her sentencing, she was believed to have stolen a total of £14,494.20, however, during a hearing on November 23 the total was increased to £55,000.

Reviews will continue to determine if Arnold acquired ‘further assets’ and will need to pay back more.

Arnold was immediately suspended from Dorset Police and formally resigned in May 2022.

Detective constable Scott Brimicombe, of Dorset Police’s Economic Unit, said: “The defendant in this case obtained a large amount of cash from her offending.

“Dorset Police is committed to using legislation available to us under POCA legislation to ensure that criminals are not able to walk away with the proceeds of their criminal activities.”