THIS is the disgraced worker who stole his colleagues’ Christmas.
Trusted Takhat Singh took more than £5,000 of cash belonging to 43 staff at the Asda distribution centre in Washington.
The devastated savers were left high and dry, with one having to take out a pay-day loan, and another struggling to buy presents for his young family.
Singh used the £5,738 handed to him during the course of the year to meet day-to-day expenses after his family ran into financial difficulties.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday the 53-year-old was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 150 hours’ unpaid work.
Mr Recorder David Dixon told him: “You should not be before this court, a man of your age who has worked hard all his life should know better.
“Your colleagues placed their trust in you to look after money as part of this Christmas club and you have let them down.
“You have let yourself down.
“I have seen what you have said about the shame you have brought to your family by acting in the way you have.
“I accept there is genuine remorse.”
Singh had worked at the warehouse for the past 17 years and had ran the Christmas club savings account for the past four.
Each of the 43 members would pay varying amounts into the club on a weekly basis, with Singh responsible for looking after the money.
But, last December, as workers were getting ready to claim their cash, Singh told his manager he had spent it all.
One worker said: “I was shocked at what Takhat had done.
“I was relying on that money for Christmas presents for my six-week-old baby and two children, aged three and four.
“I had to get out a pay-day loan to cover my costs and feel badly let down.”
The court was told bosses at Asda stepped in and paid out the money to make sure none of their workers ended up missing out. One employee, who was due £780 from the fund, said: “I was shocked and disappointed by what he did to me and my family. If it wasn’t for Asda Christmas would have been ruined for all of us.”
The court heard there had never been a problem with the savings fund before and many of the staff were left shocked by Singh’s behaviour.
Vic Laffey, defending, said Singh, who has never been in trouble before, has now registered with an employment agency in a bid to find work.
Singh, now of Nearfield Road, Doncaster, had admitted theft.