An assistant manager at a Halfords store who stole and defrauded nearly £20,000 from the company using a sophisticated refund scam has narrowly avoided an immediate custodial sentence.
Sam Michael Daniel Nield from Methley made 18 deposits over a 12-month period after accessing the company’s database from the store on Meadow Lane in Leeds where he worked.
Leeds Crown court was told how he abused his position by cancelling transactions from customers around the UK, then refunding the cash back to three of his own credit cards to the tune of £10,416.
He also stole 28 cash refunds worth £9,917.
Prosecuting, Bashir Ahmed said: “When he was called into question he said he was working more hours that he was not getting paid for and was not getting any support (from the company).
“He thought he would compensate for this.”
A probation report into Nield, of St Margaret’s Road, Methley, said he had been “frank from the outset” and only blamed himself.
The crimes dated back to 2015 and 2016 and Judge Neil Clark raised questions why it had taken nearly four years for the case to be brought before the court.
The court was told that since committing the crimes, Nield had married and become a father of two young children.
Now 30, he also works for a debt charity to help people facing financial difficulties.
Judge Clark said: “There was a degree of sophistication in what you did, but since all this happened a lot has changed.
“It would be wholly wrong to send you custody now.”
He gave Nield a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.