Delivery driver kept collection cash to help pay bills

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A DELIVERY driver used his job to pocket cash as he struggled to pay bills.

Andrew Stafford started keeping the money he had collected while supplying drinking glasses to hospitals and other businesses.

Between July and December last year, Stafford kept £1,490 belonging to Peterlee firm Innerglass.

At Peterlee Magistrates’ Court the 37-year-old, from Australia Tower, Silksworth, Sunderland, admitted theft.

Debra Jones, prosecuting, said: “This came to light in early January this year when his manager became aware of a discrepancy in the credit control.

“There were a number out outstanding payments from a number of customers who had paid in cash for their deliveries to the driver.

“Each and every time, it was the same driver – Mr Stafford.”

Stafford confessed the theft to police, but said he could not remember how much he had taken over the five-month period.

He said despite his full-time job, he found it difficult to cover the cost of living since he had broken up with his partner and could not keep up with the bills.

Mrs Jones said no other members of staff had been put under suspicion, with Stafford admitting he knew he would be caught eventually.

As a result of the theft, Stafford lost his job of more than four years with the firm, but has since found a new role with a parcel delivery service.

Alison Banks, mitigating on behalf of the father-of-one, explained his relationship of five years with an Australian woman had come to and end and she had returned home.

He had tried to make ends meet by taking out loans, but had to end the tenancy on their home and was now living in a council-owned property and rebuilding his finances.

She added: “He is remorseful and genuinely wants to pay back the money.

“He said he is ashamed of himself. He says he has ‘let my family down and let my boss down’.

“He had the trust of his employer.”

Magistrates sentenced him to an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay the money back in compensation to the firm.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham