Store manager at Killingbeck B&Q in Leeds stole £56,000 in refunds scam

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A manager at a B&Q store in Leeds who stole more than £56,000 from his employer has avoided being sent to prison.

Stephen Kesic carried out the deception for around six months while he was the manager of the Killingbeck store as he faced spiralling debts.

Leeds Crown Court heard Kesic, 41, abused the company's refunds system and placed his staff under suspicion.

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Chloe Fairley, prosecuting, said Kesic falsified refunds and made arrangements for payments to be made onto a credit card.

Stephen Kesic stole from his employer while he was the manager at the B&Q store in Killingbeck.Stephen Kesic stole from his employer while he was the manager at the B&Q store in Killingbeck.
Stephen Kesic stole from his employer while he was the manager at the B&Q store in Killingbeck.

The defendant would use the user identification of other staff members when arranging the fake refunds for large items such as cookers and laminate flooring.

Kesic also tried to cover his tracks by erasing CCTV camera footage of the office where the offending took place.

He was seen accessing the area before and after the period when footage was blanked out.

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Ms Fairley said Kesic also submitted fraudulent expense claims after lying to his employers that he had relocated to Aberdeenshire.

He claimed over £3,000 for the cost of flights, hotels and car hire.

The total value of the theft was £56,843.

The offending took place between October 2015 and March 2016.

Kesic, of Seed Hill Terrace, Keighley, pleaded guilty to theft by employee.

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Philip Mahoney, mitigating, said Kesic has no previous convictions and has not been in trouble in the years since the offence.

Mr Mahoney said Kesic now works for Vision Express and his new employer is aware of the conviction.

The barrister said Kesic had been in financial trouble since he was a teenager when he built up large credit card debts.

He added: "It spiralled out of control when he was using payday loans."

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The court heard Kesic has been a carer for his mother and sister since they suffered serious injuries in a car accident in 2018.

Kesic was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Sentencing, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: "The offence is aggravated by a number of factors.

"Others were placed under suspicion, you interfered with the CCTV and you tried to hide what you had done.

"I am satisfied that it would have gone on and on to pay the debts which you had accrued."