A DRIVER stole more than £200 in takings while on a delivery run for a South Tyneside fish and chip shop.
Magistrates were told Ben Earnshaw took the cash when he set off on a desperate dash to come to the aid of his sister in Barnsley.
Earnshaw, 24, of Burton Road, Barnsley, was delivering orders for his employers, Billy’s Golden Fish and Chips, in Cinderford Close, Boldon Colliery, at 9pm on Sunday, September 30, last year but failed to return.
Paul Kennedy, defending, told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court that Earnshaw received a call saying that his older sister, who has mental health issues, had been left on her own. He was asked to go to Barnsley to take care of her.
He took £200 from the food he had delivered and dumped three delivery bags, valued at £23 each, behind bushes before buying fuel.
Earnshaw pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by employee, stealing delivery bags and £202.10 in takings belonging to employer Sarabjit Bajwa.
Mr Kennedy said: “Mr Earnshaw had only been working there a few weeks .
“He had been owed £82 in wages and didn’t have enough fuel to get down to Barnsley. He dumped the three delivery bags behind bushes and used the money to get fuel to go to Barnsley.
“He made a foolish decision, with his only thought being to get to Barnsley. This was a one-off incident. A set off circumstances led him to make a silly decision.”
Mr Kennedy said that his client had been in contact with his former employer in a bid to start to pay back the money.
He added that his client was now living in Barnsley, juggling caring for his sister with attempts to find work.
Earnshaw was ordered to pay a fine of £73, a victim surcharge of £15 and compensation to his former employer of £190.10, making for a total of £278, to be paid at £10 per fortnight.