Stole cash to repay debts

A laboratory technician from Newton Poppleford raided his employers' safe and stole cash to pay back debts he had accrued to people who were threatening him. Exeter Crown Court heard 25-year-old Graham Pearce let himself into the laboratories in Exeter wi

A laboratory technician from Newton Poppleford raided his employers' safe and stole cash to pay back debts he had accrued to people who were threatening him.Exeter Crown Court heard 25-year-old Graham Pearce let himself into the laboratories in Exeter with his own key, then smashed a window to get into the office which contained the safe.Prosecutor Chris Bennett said Pearce rummaged round until he found the keys to the safe, which contained nearly �1,700. Fearful that his face would be captured on closed circuit television, he took the recording hubs and threw them into a hedge near the premises.The break-in was discovered the next day by a cleaner who told the company boss. The hubs were found and showed Pearce was the raider. When he was interviewed, Pearce made full admissions saying that he had worn latex gloves while carrying out the night-time raid. He told officers that he had borrowed �2,800 from people because he ran into financial difficulties at home and needed the cash to repay them.Mitigating, Emily Pitts said it was a difficult time for Pearce but he was absolutely devastated that he had let down his employer, who was a friend, and had also brought shame to his family. It was not a planned raid but a knee-jerk reaction to the situation in which Pearce found himself and he was now desperate to repay the money he had stolen.Pearce, of High Street, pleaded guilty to burglary and was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and pay �1,776 compensation for the money stolen and the damage caused. In addition, he was made the subject of a curfew on Friday and Saturday night for six months.Passing sentence, Judge Phillip Wassall told Pearce: "This was a burglary at your employers' premises where you knew you would find money. It was a breach of trust and your boss is saddened and disappointed in you. It was done to pay off debts to someone who had threatened you and while it requires a prison sentence, I feel I can suspend it.


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