A former pub worker went on the run for seven months after taking £1,200 worth of weekend takings from the Walton Hotel at Chesterfield.
But when Christopher Swift, 46, handed himself in he had no cash and was jobless. Derby Crown Court heard.
Swift was subsequently ordered to repay £600 and pay a government surcharge of £80 after the hearing last Thursday.
He claimed he took the money because a boss had ripped him off, but this was not accepted said Alex Wolfson, prosecuting.
Swift, of Kemble Place, Alvaston, Derby, admitted theft after the offence on December 17, 2012.
He was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for a year. Mr Wolfson said Swift was licensee at the pub on St Augustine’s Road.
He said: “He worked there for about two months and disappeared on December 17, 2012, with the weekend’s takings.
“He was responsible for looking after the takings, which were kept in a box with a key.
“He had the key with the box in his bedroom.
“Following his disappearance, he was contacted by mobile phone and asked to attend Chesterfield police station.”
Mr Wolfson said he refused, saying he was in Hereford and Swift was later detained in July, last year.
After visiting Warrington, Swift told police he had gone to his mother’s home in Bristol.
Andrew Wesley, mitigating, said Swift had received bad news, made a poor choice and took money that was not his.
Swift had previously worked in the licensed trade but accepted the offence would bar a return to this type of work.
But he had been offered other work and would start if excused a prison sentence.
Swift fully admitted the offence to police and pleaded guilty immediately, added Mr Wesley.