Houghton hotel nightporter who got addicted to energy drinks stole from work to fund his 15-can-a-day habit

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A hotel nightporter who became hooked on energy drinks stole more than £1,000 from his employer to feed his addiction, a court heard.

Andrew Morris, 26, of Fatherly Terrace, Houghton, quenched his daily 15-can habit by pilfering from Solberge Hall, at Newby Wiske, Northallerton, North Yorks.

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He did so by making nine transfers from the business’s coffers into his bank account and by raiding a safe of £24, between Tuesday, August 1 and Sunday, August 27.

Prosecutor Olivia Randell revealed he was caught when bosses noticed a missing £100 and launched an investigation which linked his work shifts to the crimes.

Morris appeared before magistrates in South Tyneside to plead guilty to a charge of theft from an employer of £1,024.

And he admitted to drink driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance in Newbottle Street, Houghton, on Saturday, March 23.

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He committed the motoring offences just four days after appearing at the same court to be banned for previously driving while banned.

Ms Randell said Morris took amounts of between £50 and £150 by transferring directly into his personal bank account.

She added: “The employer checked shift patterns and identified that the nightporter – the defendant – was on duty.

“The safe is covered by CCTV which showed the defendant going to the safe, which he has no legitimate access to.”

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Of the driving matters, she said police attended a takeaway Morris was at after a tip-off he had been driving while banned and after drinking alcohol.

He denied he had driven and said he did not have car keys on him but changed his tune when asked by an officer a second time, Ms Randell said.

Morris was originally banned from the roads in January last year after crashing into another car while doing wheelspins the previous month.

Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “He’s always had a problem with energy drinks. It’s not drink or drugs, it’s energy drinks.

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“He was spending every penny he earned on energy drinks, it was spiralling out of control, and he couldn’t afford it.

“There was nothing sophisticated at all – he used his own bank card to place money into his own account. It was easily traceable.”

Despite the crime, Mr Kennedy said Morris remained employed and was a well-liked member of staff.

In a report, the Probation Service told the hearing Morris drank 15 energy drinks a day which was an “addiction”.

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Magistrates ordered him to pay full compensation to his employer and banned him from driving for 22 months.

They imposed an 18-month community order, with up to 25 rehabilitation days and 19 Thinking Skills sessions.

There were no court costs.

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