A SECURITY guard stole Lotto scratch cards from the Tesco store where he worked – and claimed the winnings.
But to make matters worse, when asked by managers to check the CCTV to try to find out who was responsible, David James Whittaker deleted it and claimed the system had not been working.
Mold Crown Court heard on Friday, however, that the deleted film was recovered by security bosses – and showed Whittaker himself was the thief.
Suspicions were aroused when the winning tickets were claimed before the tickets had been activated by the store.
Whittaker, of High Street, Saltney, admitted stealing the National Lottery scratch cards valued at £640 from Tesco at the Broughton Retail Park in June.
He also admitted fraud against Camelot who paid out £61 in winnings.
The most serious charge was said to be perverting the course of justice by deleting the evidence against him.
Whittaker, 21, who is due to start a new job at Argos today, received a six-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.
He was ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work, pay £640 compensation to Tesco and £61 compensation to Camelot, with £500 prosecution costs.
The judge, Mr Recorder John Philpotts, who described it as a serious breach of trust, also placed him on a three-month tagged curfew between 9pm and 6am.
Whittaker, he said, was a young man of good character. The theft and fraud offences were serious because they were committed in breach of the trust that had been placed in him.
“You acted in a thoroughly dishonest manner,” he said.
Mr Philpotts said his preliminary view was to order immediate custody but he had been persuaded by defence barrister Debra White to suspend it.
“This has cost you dear,” he said. “Your good character is gone forever. If you repeat it, you won’t be so lucky next time.”
Prosecuting barrister Matthew Dumford said scratch cards had to be activated by computer at the store before being sold.
Suspicion was aroused on June 20 when winning cards were presented at the Tesco garage which had not been activated by Camelot.
Security guard Whittaker was instructed to check the CCTV but he falsely claimed it had not captured anything
But when the security manager made his own inquiries he found that the CCTV had been deleted on June 24, the day Whittaker had been asked to examine it.
Fortunately he was able to recover it from a recycling bin on the system.
It was viewed and showed Whittaker taking a bag of lottery cards and then taking items to his car.
Debra White, defending, said her client was full of remorse.
Whittaker had acted at a time when he was in substantial debt and unable to meet credit card repayments.
He was a diabetic who suffered from depression – an would not be able to cope in custody.
The defendant was a low risk of re-offending and character references showed that he was a polite, friendly and hard-working young man.