THE debt-ridden manager of a Co-op store turned to crime to pay off money he owed.
Blackpool magistrates heard how he stole £7,500 over a 10-month period from his employees.
He took the money when he was in charge of cashing up at the Co-op’s outlet in Layton.
Clarke, 35, of Homestead Drive, Fleetwood, admitted the theft.
Tracey Yates, prosecuting, said: “Irregularities appeared in the accounting at the store and head office started an investigation and found the loss of the money had been covered up by false accounting.”
When Clarke was questioned about the losses at the store he admitted he had taken the cash.
He was sentenced to a 26 week jail term suspended for a year and told to do 200 hours unpaid work for the community.
The court heard he had borrowed the money and repaid the Co-op in full.
The money had gone on general living costs because his wages were being swallowed up by his debts.
Patrick Nelligan, defending, said: “There is genuine remorse from this man.
“But despite the fact he has lost his good character he has found a new job.”