A SUPERMARKET manager who stole nearly £7,000 from his company by swindling online electrical orders and selling items illegally on eBay has been warned he could face jail.
Martin Copley (32), of Buckthorne Close, Swinton, said he had stolen a total of £6,951 over ten months due to “personal circumstances”.
The father-of-one, who was earning £32,000-a-year as manager of two Tesco stores at the time, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (5) and admitted fraud by abuse of position.
The magistrates told Copley, who represented himself, that their sentencing powers were inadequate and transferred his case to Sheffield Crown Court.
He was warned all sentencing options remained open, including imprisonment.
Ms Jessica Randell, prosecuting, said Copley had worked for Tesco for 15 years.
Between September 2016 and June this year, he managed two stores in Sheffield — on Abbeydale Road and Turners Lane, Broomhill.
“It was brought to the (internal) investigating officer’s attention that a large number of items ordered via Tesco Direct online were being refunded and the items were never returned,” said Ms Randell.
“The initial investigation showed this defendant to be a suspect.”
Copley ordered nine electrical items including tablets and mobile phones to collect at his store and then requested a refund online, the court heard.
But the manager, who has no previous convictions, never returned the items and instead went on to sell them on eBay.
“The investigating officer invited the defendant to be interviewed but he resigned prior to that,” said the prosecutor.
The matter was then reported to the police and when interviewed on July 31, Copley admitted to the offences and said he had personal problems and needed the money.
Copley told magistrates the incident was “a massive black cloud” hanging over his head, adding: “I’m apologetic for what happened, which was due to personal circumstances, financial and emotional stress.”
He said the situation had arisen partly due to his becoming a father and not being with the child’s mother any more.
Copley, who said he had offered to reimburse Tesco in full, added that he was currently unemployed but due to start a new job shortly as an HR assistant at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
He will appear for sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court on September 26.