A TEAM leader at a Wirral supermarket petrol station pocketed more than £4,000 takings to fund his alcohol and gambling addictions, a court heard today.

Michael Lewis was caught out after a colleague alerted the Sainsbury’s store manager at the Woodchurch Road branch in Prenton about money being handled suspiciously.

Lewis, 26, had been the team leader at the petrol station for two years and was  paid an extra 20% for the responsibility, said Sarah Holt, prosecuting.

When security CCTV was examined he was seen hiding £60 from a customer up his sleeve and when the till was checked it was found to be £74 short.

Lewis, who had been employed by the firm for four years, was questioned by investigators on August 17 last year and he admitted taking the money.

In some cases he had claimed drivers had made off without paying and in others he had not followed correct procedures with cash.

He admitted he had financial problems caused by gambling and borrowing from loan sharks.

Lewis, of Wellington Road, Wallasey, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to five theft offences involving a total of £4,504.

Jailing him for 34 weeks the judge Recorder Tania Griffiths, QC, said: "Stealing from employers is a very serious offence and could have implicated other workers."

She said he needed help with his addictions and should seek assistance when freed.

Neil Howard, defending, said that Lewis had accepted the scale of his offending.

His relationship with his long-term partner had broken down and he turned to drinking and gambling and ran into financial problems.