01 August 1997

Exeter magistrates criticised the supermarket giant for laxity in its Clubcard Plus system after a local man helped himself to over 8,000 pounds-worth of cigarettes and petrol from Tesco forecourts across the south of England. Using his Clubcard credit facility to buy petrol, Dean Maddison stumbled on the fact that he could still do so even when there was no money in his account - because Tesco filling stations were not connected to the main computer system on which Clubcard details are held! The magistrates sentenced Maddison to 28 years - not in the chokey, but to 336 monthly instalments of £30 to repay Tesco. He was also given 240 hours of community service. Needless to say, all Tesco forecourts are now wired into the main system.