A filling station cashier who swindled £14,400 to pay for his cocaine habit has been spared a jail sentence.

David Hine created bogus refunds at the business on the A38 near South Brent and used them as a way of stealing large amounts of cash between May and October last year.

He was desperate for cash because he had run up debts as a result of an uncontrolled cocaine habit, which he has now overcome, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Hine, aged 35, of Courtney Park, South Brent, admitted fraud and was jailed for ten months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work with six months of drug rehabilitation by Judge James Adkin.

He told him: “This was relatively straightforward fraudulent conduct at the service station where you created fictitious refunds and pocketing cash. It seems from the reports I have read that the prospect of rehabilitation and steering you away from cocaine is strong.” 

Mr Nick Lewin, prosecuting, said Hine stole £14,400 over six months when he was working as a cashier at a filling station on the A38 in South Devon. He was offered the chance to repay the money but his employers called in the police when he failed to do so.

She said: “In his interview with the probation service he described himself as a thief and an addict and showed a degree of shame.”

Miss Dean said Hine would struggle to pay costs because he is currently living on £280 a month Universal Credit.