A FORMER Co-op manager has been given a suspended prison sentence for stealing £4,320 worth of scratchcards and pocketing almost £3,000 in winnings.
James Charles stole the scratchcards from the Marsh store where he was in charge.
But Charles, who had worked for the Co-operative Group for 10 years, was suspended from his position at the store in New Hey Road after suspicions were raised and during interviews with his employers and police he made full and frank admissions about the theft.
In November the 27-year-old, of Victoria Street, Moldgreen, pleaded guilty to stealing £4,320 worth of scratchcards between February 28 and April 17 last year and a related offence of acquiring criminal property namely £2,906 in winnings from the stolen cards.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that Charles, who had been promoted to the post of duty manager, began stealing the scratchcards because of his own financial problems last year.
Prosecutor Clare Benson told Recorder Dean Kershaw that none of the winnings had been paid back by Charles.
After being told that unemployed Charles had no assets the judge made a nominal confiscation order of £1 against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act which means that the benefit figure of £4,320 could be reclaimed from him in the future if he has the money.
Recorder Kershaw said Charles’ position at the store amounted to a high degree of trust, but his frank admissions meant that suspicion did not fall on anyone else.
The judge told Charles: “It is a sad state of affairs when someone with your background comes to the crown court to be sentenced for a serious breach of the trust that your employers had put in you.
“I think things got on top of you and you took a course of action that you ought to be thoroughly ashamed of.
“No money has been repaid and I’ve no idea what you actually spent the money on.”
Charles was sentenced to seven months in prison, but the jail term was suspended for a year.
He will also have to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community.