Dagenham man who managed Hornchurch Greggs stole £1,600 from bakery safe to fund cocaine addiction

Thomas Riches has been spared prison after he admitted stealing more than £1,600 from Greggs in Horn

Thomas Riches has been spared prison after he admitted stealing more than £1,600 from Greggs in Hornchurch . Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A Dagenham man has been spared prison after he admitted stealing more than £1,600 from Greggs in Hornchurch to fund his cocaine habit while working as a manager there.

Thomas Riches, aged 33, of Marsh Green Road, had previously pleaded guilty to one charge of theft by employee at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on Friday, May 31.

He had, between May 1 and August 5 last year, repeatedly processed fraudulent transactions on the bakery's tills and then returned to the shop in Hornchurch High Street at night to remove money from the safe.

The total value of pilfered cash came in at £1,644.74.

At the same court today (Thursday, June 6), Riches was handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to pay £200 in court costs, and will pay Greggs back the entire £1,644.74.

The court heard that when Riches was arrested by police he still had stolen cash in his coat pocket.

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The qualified mechanic confessed fully during his police interview, telling police officers: "I had just broken up with my girlfriend and I was heavy into cocaine at the time.

"I know it was wrong and I'm sorry - I just wanted things to go back to the way things were before."

Riches' defence solicitor John Yiannakis told the court the crimes took place while Riches was "a man at his lowest ebb".

The solicitor continued: "You will have read [in the court's pre-sentencing report] about a man with significant problems in his past; a man who confessed to the police immediately and had co-operated throughout; a man who has made it clear he does not wish to profit from this and is willing to pay back every penny.

"He has shown great determination and strength of character, and now stands before you totally drug free."

Before passing sentence chief magistrate Nigel Bower told Richards: "You pleaded guilty to the offence of theft as a breach of trust.

"We have heard that you were one of the managers of a well known high street shop, and that this was a deliberate action to take money from the company in order to fund your drug addiction habit.

"It was a very deliberate act and it is something that does you no credit."

Riches was also ordered to complete a 30-day drugs rehabilitation course and will have to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work in the community.

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