A former accounts assistant who stole more than £13,000 from a Northampton opticians to fuel his gambling addiction has avoided jail.
Jamie Wixon, of Winchester Close in Delapre, has been given a suspended prison sentence of 16 months after he pleaded guilty to stealing £13,111.24 while he was employed at Sheinman Opticians in Abington Street in Northampton.
The 31-year-old said the money, which he siphoned off the shop’s takings, was “too easy not to take”.
During a sentencing hearing at Northampton Crown Court yesterday, Rachel Law, prosecuting, said Wixon had designed special spreadsheets to automatically calculate the company’s daily accounts.
But a colleague discovered he had created a “hidden cell” on one of the sheets, containing sums of money that had been earned by the company but that he had failed to bank.
A statement by Sheinman practice manager, Jane Smith, read out in court, said that Wixon’s position required utmost trust and complete responsibility over the shop’s finances and his following suspension from work was “essential”,
She said there was an “instant impact” following Wixon’s dismissal, both in terms of no more money going missing from the company accounts, but also a further loss of £3,000 to the company in investigating the situation.
Cameron Brown, defending, said that Wixon had a gambling addiction since he was 20, starting online and then later moving on to casinos, which he couldn’t afford to keep up.
Mr Brown said: “He said the money was “too easy not to take” and did not realise the effect it would have on his colleagues; he even tried to find other employment while at Sheinman to avoid the temptation.
“He has been attending Gambling Anonymous and has done his best to stop his addiction.”
Wixon, who has already started to pay the money he stole back to Sheinman, was ordered to fully compensate the company and was given a prison sentence of 16 months, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and was put under a three month curfew between 10pm - 7.30am.