An accounts manager who stole £14,000 from his Stevenage employers to pay for his cocaine addiction has been given a suspended sentence.

The 45-year-old transferred the cash from his employers bank account to fund his £1,500 a month habit.

 

On 10 October last year the boss of the company was told that the man had been observed acting strangely. The defendant had sent staff home and had fallen asleep at his desk, St Albans crown court was told Friday June 2014.

 

The theft was discovered and, when the accounts manager was questioned by the police, he made full admissions.

 

He pleaded guilty to theft. The judge was told he had been jailed for 3 and a half years at Luton crown court in 2008 for supplying drugs.

 

Sohail Bashir, defending, said the man’s mother had died while he was in prison. When he came out he “blew” a £50,000 inheritance on drugs. But since his recent arrest he said family and friends had paid for him to attend a private rehabilitation centre. “He is determined to sort out his life and has not touched drugs since January,” he said.

 

He said the man had pleaded guilty at the earlier opportunity and said he wanted to pay the money back.

 

Mr Bashir urged the judge to pass a Drug Rehabilitation Order so that he can continue his recovery.

 

Judge John Plumstead agreed and passed a 12 month jail sentence suspended for 2 years with a 9 month drug rehabilitation requirement. He told the defendant, who was supported in court by his former partner, : “You are someone with some education and qualifications. You were holding down a job and lost your sense of purpose. Stealing from your employers was low conduct.

 

The judge ordered that a small amount of cocaine found on him when he was arrested should be forfeited.

 

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