A green-grocer’s patience finally snapped when an employee stole from him for the third time.
On the first two occasions Simon Cudworth paid the money he stole from the safe back to the shopkeeper, who runs his business on St Albans Road, St Annes.
But when the victim returned from a holiday to find £1,700 missing from his safe and an IOU left by Cudworth he called in the police.
Alison Quanbrough, prosecuting, said that Cudworth, 39, of St Albans Road, St Annes, had disappeared from the area and left a message on his Facebook that he was feeling suicidal.
In fact Cudworth was camping. Police investigating the theft went to Cudworth’s then-address on Headroomgate Road, St Annes and found his basement premises turned into a cannabis farm.
The drug was being grown with heat provided by an illegally rigged meter.
In a victim’s statement the shopkeeper said he had decided to give Cudworth a final chance and had tried to make sure that he did not have access to money or the safe.
Cudworth admitted theft, possession of cannabis and abstracting electricity. He was sentenced to 14 weeks jail suspended for 12 months and ordered him to do 160 hours unpaid work for the community.