Store worker stole cash collected for children's hospice

Morrisons in Kirkham
Morrisons in Kirkham
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A supermarket manager stole cash collected in memory of a dead colleague which was to be given to a children’s hospice.

Kevin Barton, a checkouts manager at Morrisons, Poulton Street, Kirkham, took £1,620 from the supermarket safe which had been destined for the charity Brian House.

The money had been collected in memory of Christopher Scott, 32, who worked at the supermarket and was also involved in charity work.

Christopher, from Warton, suffered catastrophic injuries when he was involved in a collision with a van as he attempted to cross the road on Riversway, Preston, on Monday, May 8.

Barton told police he took the cash because he was in debt but he did not know why it had been collected or where it was destined to go.

Barton, 29, of Hardhorn Road, Poulton, pleaded guilty to theft.

He was sentenced to a 12-months community order, told to do 100 hours unpaid work for the community and pay £1,020 compensation with £85 costs plus £85 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, Nigel Killgallon, told him: “The fact you took the money was a substantial breach of trust.”

Prosecutor, Martine Connah, said staff, friends and customers gave money in memory of Christopher.

The money was to go to the charity Brian House.

On June 19, Barton, who had worked for the company for four years, went to the store safe to get some scratch-cards.

CCTV showed him taking the collected money which was in a carton from the safe. Police found £600 of the stolen cash at his home.

Hugh Pond, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, had had no idea the cash had been collected in memory of a dead colleague and was destined for charity.

He took the cash because he was in debt and thought a relative would lend him money so he could put it back in the safe after the weekend, but the relative turned him down.

He used some of the money to pay off £1,000 he owed to British Gas who had threatened to cut him off and send bailiffs in.

Barton had committed the stupid act on the spur of the moment and had lost his job.

Christopher was a keen rambler and dancer and was a member of the Freebooters and Lytham St Annes Rambling Clubs, as well as the Fancy Feet line dancing club.

He also volunteered for the British Heart Foundation.