A disgraced former worker at a seafood company has narrowly avoided an immediate jail term after admitting stealing around £14,000 from the firm.
Jamie Neil Smith, 43, of First Avenue, Poulton, admitted the theft from Kendal Fish & Seafoods, which operates from premises on Fleetwood Docks, during a period between October 2017 and July 2018.
During a hearing at at Preston Crown Court he was sentenced to 21 months in jail, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
Multi-million pound fish park for Fleetwood moves closer
Prosecuting, Louise Cowen said the company owner had to put some of his own money in to help the firm because the thefts had put 25 jobs at risk, and they only received £3,000 from their insurance company.
Judge Simon Medland QC said he had shown a “degree of determination or brass neck” by continuing to steal funds even when suspicions had arisen.
He added: ” You abused your position of trust and you began pocketing substantial sums of money.
“The real question is whether it is right or proper to suspend that sentence and I am just about persuaded due to your previous good character and the fact you did eventually plead guilty, that it is a proper discharge of my public function to impose that.”
Smith had originally been charged over £45,000 of funds missing, but the court heard the prosecution concluded he had stolen around £14,000, making a significant difference to his sentence, and accepted he had been due some of the money that had gone missing.