Falmouth charity shop boss stole cash meant for sick animals
7:00am Friday 14th September 2012 in News
THOUSANDS of pounds of cash handed over to a Falmouth charity shop were siphoned off by its manager to pay for his travel costs and household bills.
Leslie Browning, 51, now living in Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, told Truro Magistrates’ Court he stole more than £3,500 from the takings at the Cornwall Animal Hospital shop because he did not have enough money to live on. He pleaded guilty at a hearing last week to stealing the money between October 2011 and April 2012.
The court heard how, at the time of the offences, he was having to travel back and forth between Falmouth and his home in Wales to look after his wife who had cancer.
Alison May, for the CPS, said Browning was taken on as manager of the shop in September 2010, responsible for the management and banking of takings.
In March 2012 checks by headquarters revealed discrepancies at his shop traced back to him, after he made 73 late banking payments and 26 were not made at all. When he was interviewed he admitted stealing the money saying that travelling backwards and forwards to Wales to be with his sick wife had been very expensive.
He considered he was borrowing the money and when he had a little more was putting extra in. “I was trying to get myself out and using the money for my personal use”, he said.
He had no previous convictions.
His solicitor Lucy Bryant said his wife was suffering from cancer and was severely disabled. He was now not working and was her full time carer. At the time of the offences he was struggling financially and his actions had been entirely out of character. He used the money to pay his mortgage and debts in the house as they were at risk of losing it. He had been receiving a salary of £12,000 but not coping financially.
Browning was put under curfew from Monday to Friday nights for six months. He was also ordered to repay the monies he stole at the rate of £200 a month, with a down payment that day of £300. He had to pay £85 costs.