A SHOP assistant stole £350 in cash and scratchcards as “he had an urge to do it”, a court heard.
John Anthony Callaghan claimed he was under stress with the demands of caring for his ill mother when he had the urge to steal between 43 and 45 scratch cards from employers McColl’s newsagents, Chester Street, Saltney.
Former care assistant Callaghan, 26, of Barwoods Drive, Saltney, later admitted stealing the cash to pay household bills and said he was sorry for his actions.
He pleaded guilty to theft before West Cheshire Magistrates in Chester yesterday.
Rob Youds, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant was employed as a sales assistant at the store, starting work on June 28.
“Investigations revealed the defendant was suspected of stealing £350 by way of scratch cards belonging to the store.”
Mr Youds said store supervisor Deborah Robinson became suspicious after a stock take which revealed missing scratch cards on the days Callaghan was working.
The thefts took place between June 28 and July 22, when Callaghan had been organising till refunds when he was unauthorised to do so and throwing the used scratch cards in the bin, the court was told.
David Finney, defending, described Callaghan as a “very pleasant young man” who had engaged in risk taking.
“Mr Callaghan made full admissions to the police afterwards. He is mortified by his actions. He cannot really say why he did it, only that he was under a lot of stress as at the time he had been a full-time carer for his mother who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“He took on the new job and was quite stressed and had an urge to do it [steal]. He is apologetic for his actions,” said Mr Finney.
The court heard Callaghan suffered with anxiety problems and still cares for his terminally ill mother.
Magistrates sentenced him to a community order and ordered him to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also told to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
They decided against awarding compensation for the monies stolen after Callaghan told the court McColl's had deducted a sum of monies from his final pay cheque.
See full story in the Chester Leader