A restaurant manager stole more than £11,000 from his company during a three-week thieving spree over a busy Christmas period.
Daniel Cuthbert, 28, from Selby, was working as branch manager at the Stew & Oyster restaurant at the Old Town Hall in Malton and was entrusted to oversee and record cash takings and deposit money into the bank, York Crown Court heard.
But between December 23, 2019, and January 13, 2020, he plundered large amounts from company funds to feed a growing gambling habit and meet household debts.
Cuthbert, a father-of-two, was responsible for depositing the restaurant’s money into the company’s account, said prosecutor Kelly Sheriff.
The company’s operations director noticed that over a three-week trading period between December 2019 and January 2020, the restaurant had cash sales of just over £11,926, but none of this had been deposited in the bank “or recorded as being banked by the defendant”.
Company bosses had previously challenged Cuthbert in January 2020 about an initial discrepancy of £920, but this turned out to be just the thin end of the wedge. When challenged about this initial discrepancy, Cuthbert said he would “look into it as the bank book had gone missing”.
Ms Sheriff said Cuthbert’s supervisor had asked him on “numerous occasions” to explain the missing funds, but he didn’t respond.
A disciplinary hearing was convened but Cuthbert didn’t turn up. He was duly fired by the company.
He was later arrested at his home and told police: “I’ve been expecting this.”
Fallen on hard times
He admitted he had been stealing from the company after he had fallen on hard times and that he had found it hard to keep up with payments for his family home and running his vehicle.
“He said he initially took smaller amounts to gamble on the lottery,” added Ms Sheriff.
“He said the winnings never came, but he was in further debt to the company and continued to take money (from the restaurant) to gamble to repay them,” said Ms Sheriff.
Cuthbert, of Elston Avenue, Selby, appeared for sentence on Friday (March 25) after pleading guilty to fraud as an abuse of position.
The court heard that in 2011, he received a caution for a similar offence.
Judge Simon Hickey told Cuthbert he had “buried his head in the sand” after being rumbled by the company.
“You tried to avoid matters hoping they would simply go away – they didn’t,” added the judge.
“You abused your position of trust.”
However, Mr Hickey said he accepted that Cuthbert had been struggling “to look after your young family” and that he had responsibilities towards his children.
Because of this, as well as Cuthbert’s timely guilty plea and the “very real prospect of rehabilitation”, he could suspend the inevitable jail sentence.
The 12-month sentence was suspended for 18 months, during which Cuthbert will have to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work.
Despite the £11,926 “benefit figure” from Cuthbert’s ill-gotten gains, the judge made a nominal confiscation order of just £1 because the former hospitality manager had no assets and no more cash in the bank.