Shop thief told 'pay up or go to jail'

Published Tuesday, 29 July 2014
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A north Belfast man who stole almost £15,000 from his employers has been given six months to repay the money by a judge or face a prison sentence.

Shop thief told 'pay up or go to jail'
The judge took into account Bibby's circumstances. (© UTV)

John Bibby, originally with an address in Mountvernon on Belfast's Shore Road, pleaded guilty to a single charge of stealing £14,800 from Dunnes over a seven month period between May and December 2008.

The 49-year-old was a security manager in the store which was running a voucher scheme for customers.

Following an internal investigation into discrepancies, Bibby was pictured counting money in the cash room, while at the same time taking vouchers from his coat pocket and placing them beside the cash.

Judge Donna McColgan QC, sitting in Antrim, McColgan said that while Bibby had no direct contact with the cash room in the store, he was aware of how it worked.

The judge said: "Essentially, what he was doing was taking cash and replacing it with the vouchers.

"He knew precisely what he was doing."

Bibby later claimed that at the time his prime motivation was to feed his gambling addiction and mounting debts.

Judge McColgan said while those who steal from employers could expect an inevitable jail term, at times justice had to be seen to be merciful and in the unique and peculiar circumstances of the case she was prepared to suspended his nine month sentence for two years.

The Crown Court judge said that pre-sentence reports on Bibby indicated that he plays a key role in the care of his teenage son and that if jailed it may compromise his programme of treatment.

Defence lawyer Richard McConkey indicated to the judge that his client could be in a position to repay the money within the next three months.

In the circumstances, the judge said she would make a compensation order for the full amount, to be paid within six months, with a year in jail for default.

However, the judge added that if more time were needed the matter should be brought back before the court.

© UTV News
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