Thieving restaurant boss caught after stealing second helpings from Martino’s takings

Martino's in Jarrow
Martino's in Jarrow

A greedy restaurant manager went back for seconds after being caught helping himself to his bosses’ takings.

Gazmend Zykaj was given a chance to pay back what he had taken after he confessed to the owners of Martino’s Italian restaurant in Jarrow that he had pocketed thousands of pounds of their money.

I hear you have not paid anything whatsoever towards clearing that debt and, furthermore, you rubbed their noses in it, in effect, because you continued to steal monies from them.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that instead of paying back the cash at £100 a month, as arranged, while being allowed to continue to work, the 38-year-old made off with even more money, however.

Prosecutors claim Zykaj stole a total of £6,518, but he admitted theft on the basis that he had pocketed a total of £5,418.

He used the money he stole to pay gambling and drug debts.

The court heard that the missing cash, together with the court case triggered by its theft, caused enormous stress to the Ellison Street business’s owners.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court the initial theft was carried out between August and November last year.

He said: “Initially, the firm had decided they would dismiss the defendant. However, he did make an offer to repay the amount he had stolen at £100 per month.

“The view was taken that the only way the business would recoup its losses was if he was allowed to remain in employment.

“He was demoted and not given responsibility for the safe.”

The court heard that as well as paying back nothing of what he owed, Zykaj pocketed more of the pizza and pasta restaurant’s takings in December.

Zykaj, of Deckham Terrace, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to theft by an employee.

He has since found similar work elsewhere, the court heard.

Recorder Taryn Turner gave him a four-month prison sentence suspended for a year, with a requirement to do 120 hours’ unpaid work.

The judge ordered that Zykaj must pay £5,418 compensation to the restaurant. The judge told him: “They allowed you to continue working in the hope you would repay some of the debt you owed them.

“I hear you have not paid anything whatsoever towards clearing that debt and, furthermore, you rubbed their noses in it, in effect, because you continued to steal monies from them.

“This will give you the chance to repay the money you stole from them.”

Vic Laffey, defending, said Zykaj had been a “glorified waiter” with no responsibilities for hiring and firing or stock control.

Mr Laffey added: “He had significant problems, namely gambling debts, and a certain amount of drug problems mixed in with that.

“The drug problems are behind him. The debts he is managing.”

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