A thieving bar boss who stole thousands of pounds of cash from two South Tyneside nightspots to feed his gambling fix has been spared jail.
David Johnson stole £6,840 from The Beach and Glitterball venues in Ocean Road, South Shields, which he managed, over a four-month period.
The 50-year-old argued at his trial that he had taken the money in order to buy items for the venues, such as toilet rolls, as they had both been given zero spend budgets by their owner, Drinks Group.
However a jury found that he had, in fact, spent at least some of the money on himself.
Recorder Andrew Baker QC told Newcastle Crown Court that, during his trial the prosecution had provided substantial evidence to prove that Johnson spent around £1,500 on himself and some of that money was spent on a Sky Bet account.
Prosecutor Graham O’Sullivan told the court that Johnson, of Hawthorne Avenue, South Shields, had abused the trust put in him by his employer to run two venues and had used their funds to feed his gambling habit.
Glenn Gatland, defending, told the court Johnson no longer had a gambling problem and his life was back on track.
Johnson had denied theft but was found guilty after a trial.
Recorder Baker QC told Johnson: “You abused your employers trust by taking money from those cash streams.”
He sentenced Johnson to 12 months in prison, but suspended the term for 18 months.
He was also ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work.The judge also ordered him to repay the stolen cash but the amount is to be decided at a later date.