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Accused of theft from the till

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I have a stall in a market, o

ver the recent months I had befriended another stall holder who has a much larger fruit and vegetables shop and was struggling to manage on their own,

I offered help to put stock out etc to give a hand, over the weeks I graduated to helping on the till also (all unpaid)


one afternoon they confront me and accuse me with underringing the till and pocketing the money,

the evidence they have is a till roll which says 1p on it numerous times , I have no idea where it came from,


they have now told everyone in the market I'm a thief and my takings has plummeted,

apparently they saw me stuff pound coins in my pocket but said nothing at the time!!!. 


I know they were struggling to pay suppliers and now everyone is putting their arm around them saying it's not your fault you're behind with the payments when you had a tealeaf on the till!

They were behind before with payments

What do I do. 

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It sounds like a very nasty situation. I'm not sure there's much you can do. Bringing actions in defamation are extremely difficult and expensive and it's not the kind of thing that you would want to get into. It would probably also alienate all the other people in that market and that would make life even more difficult for you.

I'm afraid the only thing I can suggest is mainly to keep your head down and keep running your stall and stay very friendly with as many people as possible so that gradually your reputation recovers. In respect of the till roll, I would ask for a copy of it and then see if you can go through and match up all the times and dates of the 1p entries to the times that you were there. If you are able to show that some of those entries refer to times that you won't involved at all then you should start letting people know and in that way the version that is being spread around by your accuser will be undermined.

Other than that, I think the only tactic is to undermine the reputation of your accuser – simply by being charming and friendly to everyone – but not badmouthing your accuser because that will only lead to a feud, people taking sides, and further suspicion.

This isn't the kind of practical advice we normally handout – but I think in the circumstances it's the best we can do

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