A worker who ran up debts through payday loans stole a total of £5,292 from a Kirk Hallam petrol station in a bid to meet his money troubles, a court has heard.
At Derby Crown Court, James Grebby, 25, claimed dozens of drivers had sped off without paying for fuel at the garage in Ladywood Road.
But Co-op officials became suspicious because the number of ‘drive offs’ was more than four times higher than when other staff were on duty.
They seized CCTV film and saw him ‘fumbling in his pockets’ when some drivers handed over cash, said Paul Stimson, prosecuting.
Grebby admitted theft and got a six-month jail term, suspended for a year, and must do 200 hours of unpaid work.
He took cash 238 times over 16 months before being caught in April.
Mr Stimson added: “He said he took the money because he had significant debt through payday loans.”
Grebby, of Charnos Street, Ilkeston, had never been in trouble before and had spent four years working at the garage.
Recorder Simon Ward said: “You got into financial difficulty and, instead of seeking advice, you gave in to the temptation of stealing cash you handled on behalf of your employers.”
Alison Downs, mitigating, said Grebby did not have drug or alcohol problems but ran into difficulties after getting a £100 payday loan.
She told Derby Crown Court: “In the interview with police, he said the motivation was to pay off the debts. He was saddled with payday loans which started with £100.
“At the time, he was living with his partner and young child. The relationship floundered as a result of the financial difficulties.
“He has had help from a debt finance company which had assisted him in getting his finances on to an even keel. He is not workshy and is actively looking for employment.”