Thief said life was in danger to keep cash

A DELIVERY driver stole more than £270 from his employers - then tried to avoid being caught by claiming his life was in danger.

Keith Williams, 47, of Hughenden Road, was responsible for delivering meat products to different clients on behalf of Bexhill-based firm Gunne Butchers.

But instead of handing back the takings to the company, he pocketed £271.99 in cash.

At a court hearing on last week, Mark Kateley, prosecuting, said the three separate thefts took place between July 6 and 12 last year.

He said: “The defendant contacted his employers by telephone saying that his life was in danger and he was having to leave the area.

“The money was discussed and the company asked him to hand it in. In fact he was dismissed.

“He said he left cash in the van before saying his life was threatened and had no choice but to leave the area.”

The court heard that Williams had, in fact, not left any money in the company’s van.

CCTV footage showed him running off after leaving the van.

Magistrates heard Williams had previous convictions for dishonesty.

Williams initially pleaded not guilty to three counts of stealing from his employers at an earlier court hearing on January 6.

He was found guilty by magistrates at a trial on Thursday, May 19.

Williams appeared in the dock on Monday, May 23, to be sentenced.

Aiden Harvey, defending, said: “He had collected the cash during the week and spent it on a night out drinking.

“It was a stupid offence and opportunistic rather than pre-planned.

“The money was simply there and he just took it.”

Magistrates ordered Williams to do 140 hours of unpaid community work.

They also ordered him to pay £271.99 in compensation.