A FORMER store manager at T.M. Lewin in Cheshire Oaks who defrauded the company out of more than £3,000 in what was described at Chester Magistrates Court as "an unsophisticated theft" has been handed a suspended jail term.

Peter Tilsed, 29, of Green Lawn, Rock Ferry, pleaded guilty on Friday, January 4 to a total of 10 charges, each time refunding cash into his own bank account.

The offences took place during what was described as "five months of mayhem" between November 20, 2017 and April 6, 2018, with a total of £3,085 defrauded.

A probation report heard Tilsed had no previous convictions and the offences took place following a 12-month period during which he had split from his partner of 10 years and had significant financial outgoings including alcohol.

He was not proud of what he had done and he had since changed his job to one where he worked in a hotel and earned less money but had a lot less stress in work.

He was now surviving financially, having been unemployed for several months, and the hotel he worked at was supportive.

Defending, James Bagby said he made admissions to both T.M. Lewin and the police.

He added: "Stress and alcohol have played their part. This is one of the most unsophisticated thefts that has been brought before the court.

"He has taken steps to put himself back on track."

Judge Nicholas Sanders, sentencing, said: "You co-operated with the police and did not hide your offending, it was a fairly unsophisticated theft."

Tilsed was handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and must carry out 180 hours unpaid work.

He must pay £3,085 compensation to T.M. Lewin.