Former shop manager jailed despite pleading for “one last chance” after stealing cash from till

Courts
Courts

The former manager of the Fat Face store in Berkhamsted was jailed for 18 months today after a judge heard he had started stealing cash from the till soon after the shop had opened.

Jonathon Whiting, 32, from Buckingham, was already serving a suspended sentence for stealing from Billabong, his previous employer, when he started work at the new store, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Michael Shaw said that Whiting took £11,449 between November 2011 and February 2012. He filled in the correct amount of cash in the shop’s books but, on 22 occasions, did not pay the full amount in at the bank.

The shortfall was discovered in February 2012 and both he and the assistant manager were suspended as suspicion had unfairly fallen on her, said Mr Shaw.

Whiting, of Bluebell Close, Buckingham, pleaded guilty to theft. In April 2011 he received a 6 month jail sentence suspended for two years for five counts of theft from Billabong. In all, he had five previous convictions for 11 offences.

Alistair Polson, defending, said the assistant manager had been “quickly exonerated” and returned to work. He said that, at the time, Whiting had a “significant alcohol problem.”

He said he was being supported by his new partner, had shown remorse and fully accepted his guilt.

Mr Polson asked the judge to give Whiting “one last chance” and not send him to prison.

But Judge Marie Catterson jailed him for 15 months for the theft from Fat Face and activated three months of the suspended sentence to run consecutively.

She said: “An extremely unattractive feature of this case is that suspicion fell on a fellow employee.

“You were stealing hand over fist from your employers when you were serving a suspended sentence.”