A volunteer church warden has avoided jail after stealing more than £7,000 from Sainsbury’s in Denton while he was trusted with cashing up at the end of his shift.
Richard Miller, 43, was employed as a customer experience manager at the supermarket when he was trusted to count the cash every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
However, staff became suspicious as they discovered large amounts of cash missing, up to £1,000, after each occasion Miller had cashed up.
Following an investigation by Sainsbury’s, they discovered that a total £7,585.20 in cash had been stolen from the tills.
During a police interview, Miller, of Shevington, Wigan, admitted he was living beyond his means.
At Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, Miller admitted to theft by employee, but walked free from court as he was handed a 12-month custodial sentence suspended for two years.
The thefts began in June 2018 when Miller had been working as a manager for some time.
Hugh McKee, prosecuting, said: “In June 2018, the defendant was working as a customer experience manager at Sainsbury’s in Denton, which he had been doing for many years.
“Between June 2018 and November 2018 he was tasked with counting the cash up at the end of the day, on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“It came to Sainsbury’s attention that amounts of £1,000 were going missing and concluded it was this defendant. Between those months a total of £7,585.20 was stolen.
“He would be the only one left in the office and left in a position of trust to count the cash up at the end of the day. Some of that money was destined for charitable causes. There was an element of distraction.
“He was arrested and interviewed by the police and he told them he was living beyond his means.
“He is 43, he suffers with stress and depression, and was previously alcohol dependant.”
Miller has one previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol in 2004 but was said to be of previous good character.
In mitigation, his defence lawyer Peter Horgan said: “He is supported by his mother, who he currently lives with. He managed things as best as he could, financially. His father died from a heart attack at the age of 70.
“He has not had a drop of alcohol since the incidents. There was a degree of trust placed in him.”
Sentencing him, Judge Bernard Lever said: “He was in management and he took it upon himself to count the moment. He was long standing at a managerial level.
“You are 43, and this is the most unusual case. You took money from that company, when you were also employed as a church warden and you dedicated your spare time to helping run your church.
“The position is, you had a drinking problem and you were knocked sidewards when your 70-year-old father had a heart attack and unexpectedly died. You also had a background of financial problems.
“You had been employed to count the money and you were employed in a position of trust from a long-standing period of employment.
“You are a person of positive, good character, and these are most unusual circumstances.
“You are a very lucky man, and your luck is your own doing as you have led an extremely positive life.”
Miller was also ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid work, made subject of an electronic curfew for a period of six months and he must pay £500 compensation to Sainsbury’s, Macmillan and the British Legion.