After originally facing an allegation that he had stolen thousands of pounds from a Warwick tyre company, an ex-employee has been sentenced for the theft of just £60.
Joseph Fisher had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the theft of £13,000 from Warwick Tyres, which was based in Birmingham Road, Warwick, in 2019.
But at a pre-trial hearing, prosecutor Alison Scott-Jones applied to add a second charge of the theft of a single tyre, to which Fisher pleaded guilty.
And after the charge was amended to the theft of the £60 a customer had paid for the tyre, Fisher (27) now of Abermeurig, Lampeter, south Wales, was given a one-year conditional discharge.
In 2019 Fisher was employed by Nicola Duffy, who owned Warwick Tyres. She said the business has had to be liquidated due to the £13,000 loss and said they feel let down by the justice system.
On February 22 that year a friend of hers went to buy a tyre which was sold to her by Fisher, who did not offer her a receipt for the £60 cost.
And when Ms Duffy checked, she found that the sale had not been entered and the money had not been paid in.
She contacted the police, and when Fisher was arrested he admitted he had taken the £60, added Miss Scott-Jones.
Carl Templar-Vasey, defending, said that, given Fisher’s previous good character and his admission at the police station, it was unlikely he would have received more than a caution - but for the allegation he had stolen a much larger amount.
He suggested that therefore, as his not guilty plea to the alleged £13,000 had now been accepted, he should be dealt with by a conditional discharge.
And Judge Peter Cooke, who entered a formal not guilty verdict on the more serious charge, agreed.
Imposing the conditional discharge and ordering Fisher to pay £85 costs, Judge Cooke told him: “Finally we have drawn a line under this matter.”
But after the case, Warwick Tyres said in a statement that it was shocked by the outcome - and by the fact that they had to find out about it on social media.
"It was devastating to discover the outcome of this matter on social media," it said.
"The theft occurred three years ago and was intended for trial next year which as we have today discovered via social media, is not going ahead.
"We are disappointed that the evidence and the witnesses did not get an opportunity to present their evidence in court as we believe the outcome would have been different if it had been presented in front of a jury.
"It has been a difficult time for us and we do feel we have been let down by the justice system.
"We would like to thank all of our family and friends for their support and also to Warwickshire Police who devoted a lot of their time and resources on this case."