A Co-op store manager stole £15,000 from the takings over a period of six months – because he wanted to help out his ex-wife who was in financial difficulty.
Jason Dunphy covered up his thefts by steadily inflating the amount of cash in the store safe, and got away with it until auditors carried out a check.
And at Warwick Crown Court he was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years after pleading guilty to the theft.
Dunphy (42) of Adams Street, Rugby, was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work, to take part in a rehabilitation activity, and to pay £2,000 compensation to the Co-op.
Prosecutor Jamie Scott said Dunphy had been the store manager at the Co-Op food store in Lawford Road, Rugby, and for six months he falsified the accounts he submitted to head office.
He did so by inflating the opening and closing figures and the amount of cash in the store safe to cover up the fact that he was stealing money from the takings.
But his dishonesty came to light in March last year when auditors became concerned that an unusually high figure of £18,000 was recorded as being in the safe.
So the regional manager was asked to visit the store to carry out a check – and he discovered that in fact the safe held just £3,000.
Dunphy made a prompt confession that he had stolen the missing money, and the police were called in, said Mr Scott.
When he was interviewed Dunphy explained that his ex-wife, who had the care of their teenage son, was in financial difficulty.
So he had been stealing money on a regular basis, between £150 and £300 at a time, to give to her to assist her and their son.
“He says he did not take it for his personal use, and there is no evidence of that,” added Mr Scott.
Dunphy, who had no legal representation, said he had nothing to add to the explanation he had given to the police and in his pre-sentence report, but that he was ‘sorry for what happened.’
He told the judge he had been sacked as a result of the theft, but had now got a new job working 12-hour shifts.
Sentencing Dunphy, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said: “You were the store manager at the Co-op, in a position of trust.
“You took money from the safe, £150 to £300 at a time, and when it was discovered the total had become £15,000.
“You had falsified the paperwork on a weekly basis to cover up the theft. The breach of trust is a serious matter, and it was over a sustained period.
“This is a very, very bad blemish on your character. You have got to go forward in life and put this behind you.”