A crooked cash machine repair man from Brighouse has avoided an immediate prison sentence after he stole nearly £10,000 from machines across the north of England.
Michael McPhee was caught out by a so-called ‘integrity test’ after he was linked to machines which had suffered losses.
An investigator appointed by McPhee’s employer NCR Limited trapped the 23-year-old earlier this year when five marked £20 notes were left on the floor of an ATM and the defendant was then called out to repair a fault.
Prosecutor Syam Soni told Bradford Crown Court that McPhee should have collected the notes and put them in a self-sealed bag, but instead he picked up the cash and put it in his wallet.
McPhee, of Bramston Street, was challenged about the notes and confessed to taking the money that day and on other occasions.
Mr Soni said initial inquiries had uncovered losses totalling just under £2,500, but further investigations revealed that over a 10-month period between April last year and January this year McPhee had stolen a total of £9,645 from ATMs.
He told the court that McPhee had accessed 122 ATMs during that period and he had stolen money from 64 of them.
“The £9,645 loss over a 10-month period equates to approximately £1000 a month being taken,” said Mr Soni.
McPhee, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to stealing from his employers and said he had been taking the money because of an addiction to football gambling.
Mr Soni said McPhee had expressed remorse for the offending and a desire to pay back the money he had stolen.
Barrister Nigel Jamieson, for McPhee, said he had lost his employment as a result of the offending, but was now working somewhere else and intended to pay back the money at the rate of £200 a month.
Judge Peter Benson said the persistent nature of the offending meant it passed the custody threshold.
“He has fallen prey to temptation, but not on an isolated occasion sadly,” said the judge.
The judge told McPhee that he had a responsible job with a company that was charged with servicing and repairing automatic telling machines.
“You were expected to do that honestly and not fall prey to temptation to take any of the cash to which you had access,” the judge told McPhee.
“Sadly you did fall prey to that temptation. Not once, but on 64 occasions.
“These are serious matters particularly given the persistent nature of the offending and the moderately high degree of trust placed in you by your employers.”
But Judge Benson said McPhee’s lack of previous convictions and his frank admissions meant he could suspend the six-month jail term for two years.
McPhee will also have to do 200 hours unpaid work for the community.
“You’ve made a silly mistake in your life,” the judge told him.
“I hope you’ve learned from it and I hope the courts never see you again.”