MONEY shop manager Adam Forrester plundered the till and stole almost £4,000 from his employers, a court heard.
He was caught on cctv pocketing cash after counting the day's takings at The Cheque Centre in Stafford.
Bosses became suspicious because the Crabbery Street branch's accounts were being entered manually instead of by computer.
An audit was carried out that showed a shortfall in the accounts between the 7th and 30th of March this year, said Richard Davenport, prosecuting.
Forrester was challenged about it and then suspended from his job. A full investigation revealed a total of £3,997 was missing.
Forrester, aged 26, of Jonathan Road, Stoke on Trent, who admitted a charge of theft, was given a 12 month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to do 180 hours unpaid community work and to pay £3,997 compensation to the victims, Axcess (corr) Europe.
Judge Michael Elsom told him: "All cases of stealing employers' money are serious. In your case the amount involved is at the lower end of the scales."
Paul Hiatt, defending, said Forrester committed the theft due to financial problems - his wife was on maternity leave and they were struggling to pay the bills.
He had only been working at the branch for two months, the theft taking place over a period of 18 days.
Although currently on benefits, Forrester had been offered a job as a recruitment consultant in Hanley.