Gentoo worker fuelled friends’ cars using company petrol card to make extra money at cash-strapped firm’s expense

Gentoo building at Doxford Park.
Gentoo building at Doxford Park.
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A dishonest worker has admitted stealing money from his cash-strapped employer.

Gentoo employee David Taylor, 45, used his company petrol card to fill up his own vehicle on several occasions as well as offering fuel to friends to make extra cash, Sunderland magistrates heard.

He used the card inappropriately. It is the equivalent to people claiming a bit more on their expenses than they are supposed to, for their own use. It happens all the time in employment

Jason Smith, defending

But, unlike the 330 Gentoo staff who are currently facing an uncertain future after redundancy plans were announced last week, Taylor has already found a new job as a shopfitter.

“The defendant was at the time employed by Gentoo,” prosecutor Paul Anderson said.

“These are six offences of a similar nature, where the defendant has essentially used the company credit card for his own personal use. He’s used it to fill his own car with petrol and has also filled up petrol for other people to get backhanders, in colloquial terms.”

Taylor, of Athol Gardens, Ryhope, pleaded guilty to six counts of theft by employee - all committed during a three-week period in June and totalling £679.75

“There is some dispute in relation to an internal audit that shows rather more than that as a discrepancy between the use of the card and what he has been charged with, but you have to deal with what is before you today,” Mr Anderson said.

“The rest is a matter between his former employer and him.”

He added: “For the last 13 years he’s been a law-abiding citizen according to his record. However, this has been a considerable breach of trust.”

Jason Smith, defending, said: “This is a situation where Mr Taylor was in possession of a petrol card. That petrol card was to be used for 
the purposes of his employment.

“At the time, Mr Taylor was going through a difficult divorce situation. His former partner was demanding a considerable amount of money in relation to maintenance and care and the former matrimonial home.

“As a result he couldn’t pay for his own petrol to go to and from work. He took the petrol for his own use and partly to gain a little bit of money on the side.”

Mr Smith said his client has now found work for a shopfitting company, 
which sees him travelling all over the country.

“He used the card inappropriately,” Mr Smith added. “It is the equivalent to people claiming a bit more on their expenses than they are supposed to, for their own use. It happens all the time in employment.”

Taylor was fined £265 and was told to pay £679.75 in compensation to Gentoo, along with a £26.50 victim surcharge, £85 
costs and £180 criminal courts charge.