The manager of a shop in Charlton has been jailed after he admitted to defrauding his employer out of £260,000 to fund a gambling addiction.

Paul Hearne, of Kemerton Road, Croydon, was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court to two years and eight months after pleading guilty to theft and fraud by false representation.

Between January 2014 and November 2015, the 36-year-old, employed at an electrical retailer in Bugsby’s Way, intercepted high value items such as battery backup units worth around £95,000 and sold them directly to customers, pocketing the money.

He also took payments intended for the company and paid them into his own bank account.

Hearne stole £260,526 from the company, creating false statements and invoices to hide his activities.

Following a stock take carried out by the company in late 2015, Hearne’s fraudulent activities were discovered.

He was suspended by the company and reported to the police.

When he was interviewed by officers he admitted the offences, saying he needed the money to fund a gambling addiction.

Detective constable Scott Albert from Greenwich CID said: “Hearne was in a position of trust and failed to act responsibly.

“Instead he stole and gambled away monies to the value of hundreds of thousands of pounds affecting the branch’s viability to continue trading.

“Hearne’s sentence today should act as a warning that offences of this nature carry grave consequences.”

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