A trusted employee who worked for a Wakefield business for more than two decades stole more than £24,000 from the company over a five-year-period, a court heard.
Leeds Crown Court heard father-of-four Neil Dooler, 42, created more than 1,800 fake invoices at Wakefield Timber and pocketed a total of £24,785.48 between 2010 and March this year.
Dooler, of Wakefield Road, Normanton, admitted fraud and was sentenced to a 20-month jail term, suspended for two years.
Dooler, who told police he was in debt with credit cards and had a ‘heavy’ mortgage, was also ordered to complete 200-hours of unpaid work.
After the sentencing hearing, Wakefield Timber managing director Steven Bruce, said: “We were absolutely gutted when we realised. We had trusted him. My dad took him on when he was 17.
“I have known him since I was seven and I invited him to my kid’s first birthday party.
“In the last five years it’s been tough for us as a business and we have had to make a few redundancies and have had the costs of moving premises a couple of times. For this to happen on top of that has had a huge impact.
“We’re disappointed at the sentence because we don’t feel like he’s really been punished.”
Prosecutor, Kathryn Stuckey told the court Mr Bruce launched an investigation when he checked CCTV and saw Dooler stealing cash while alone in the store.
He watched Dooler creating an invoice before throwing the customer copy away and taking money out of the till.
Mitigating, Kate Bisset, said Dooler has no previous convictions, adding: “He knows what he did was disgraceful and disgraceful doesn’t come close to describing what happened.
“He found himself, for various reasons, in extreme debt , whilst all the while putting on a facade. He didn’t want to admit to those close to him that things were as desperate as they had become.”
Miss Bisset said Dooler’s wife had set up a stall at Castleford Market and Dooler was currently working there.
Sentecing Dooler, Recorder Sophie Drake told him: “It was a gross breach of trust because it was happening so regularly. You were a trusted friend as well as an employee of the company.”