Manager stole £87,000 from Leeds cash handling firm

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A MANAGER abused his position of trust and stole at least £87,000 at the cash handling firm where he worked.

Michael Lamb, 36, was jailed for two years after a court heard the sum he admitted to stealing over a six-year period was only a “conservative estimate” and the real figure could be much higher.

Father-of-two Lamb stole the cash while working at the Leeds depot of Vaultex UK. The stolen money was spent on gambling, paying off debts and buying luxury items for himself and his wife.

Leeds Crown Court heard the firm handles around £120 million in cash each week on behalf of high street banks and retailers in the city.

Lamb, of Cross Flatts Grove, Beeston, carried out the deception after being made a shift manager, earning around £30,000 a year.

Duncan Ritchie, prosecuting, said automatic counting machines are used at the depot. Lamb’s role was deal with discrepancies when machines rejected notes.

Mr Ritchie said a high level of trust was placed in him by his employers.

Lamb’s offending came to light after it was noticed that the Leeds depot had a high discrepancy rate compared to other centres.

Further investigation showed three distinct periods when the discrepancy rate was not as high. All were during times when Lamb was on holiday.

He was then watched on CCTV and could be seen placing cash into a folded piece of paper on his desk.

Lamb took the cash to an area not covered by cameras and hid it in his clothing.

Mr Ritchie said: “It appears he was well practised and he must have been confident of not being detained because colleagues were working nearby,”

Lamb was stopped as he left work in April last year and found to have a bundle of bank notes worth £520. He immediately admitted that he had been stealing cash.

A further £1,600 in cash and a number of betting slips were then found when his car was searched.

An investigation of his bank accounts revealed £87,000 had been deposited which could not he accounted for.

Mr Ritchie said the figure Lamb actually stole could be much higher as is did not take into account items which may have been purchased with stolen cash.

He added: “Because of the nature of the offence it is impossible to be precise.”

It was noted that Lamb’s wife had a new car when his home was searched. Receipts for high value electrical items were also found along with correspondence from debt recovery firms.

Lamb pleaded guilty to 14 offences of theft which took place between 2008 and 2014.

Mr Ritchie said the amount stolen increased each year, from £3,000 in 2008 to £23,000 in 2013.

Michael Miller, mitigating, said Lamb had worked hard to reach the position he held.

He said the offending began as he struggled to manage financially. He said there was evidence that Lamb and his wife had a problem with gambling.

Mr Miller said Lamb had managed to find work in a bed manufacturing firm since losing his job. He faced losing his home if he was sent immediately to custody.

Jailing Lamb, judge Sally Cahill, QC, said: “The estimate of the amount you took over six years is in the region of £87,000. But that is a conservative estimate based on amounts put into you bank account and not what you spent on other items.”