Desperate Longton banker Christopher Reed stole £7k from OAP while working at Lloyds TSB in Stoke
BANK worker Christopher Reed has been spared jail after stealing £7,000 from an 81-year-old customer.
The 26-year-old abused his position as a personal banking assistant at Lloyds TSB in Stoke town centre to clear his own debts, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Neil Ahuja said the pensioner went into the branch on September 20 to discuss moving money to a different account.
But while he was in the meeting with the defendant, Reed transferred £7,571.43 from the customer's account into another account. And from there he moved the money into his own account before transferring back £571.43.
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Mr Ahuja said: "The same day, the defendant transferred £3,000 to one of his other accounts and £1,000 to a loan he had at NatWest.
"On October 1 he made two more transactions, a £3,650 credit transfer and a £3,490 debit, which was effectively money to buy a car."
Reed made admissions in interviews with the bank and police.
He said he met the pensioner a few times as a customer.
He was in a 'low place' at the time and his debts were getting on top of him.
He said he acted in panic and opportunistically.
He thought the pensioner would not notice. He regretted his actions and felt sick as soon as he had done it.
The court heard the theft came to light as the result of an internal investigation. The pensioner had not noticed the money was missing when the bank informed him.
The bank refunded the victim and Reed repaid the bank after obtaining funds from his dad.
Reed, of Sycamore Close, Longton, pleaded guilty to theft.
Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said Reed had lost his job and now works in Hungary.
He said the offence was not sophisticated and was always going to be discovered.
Mr Muldoon said: "He is someone who acted completely inappropriately out of what he perceived was financial desperation.
"He has done what he can since the offence was committed to put right what he did wrong.
"He does not take the fact he defrauded an 81-year-old gentleman lightly. He has shown genuine remorse, realising the grave mistake he has made."
Judge David Fletcher said he could just pull back from passing an immediate jail term and sentenced Reed to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years, with six months supervision and the maximum 300 hours unpaid work.
The judge told Reed: "You were always going to be found out. You were found out very quickly.
"You were clearly not thinking properly. I can't imagine what was going through your mind.
"But you made things worse for yourself by going on to use the money you had taken."
Judge Fletcher reserved any breaches of the order to himself and warned Reed: "There will not be any second chances for you."