Boss jailed for stealing from Norwich company

Christine CunninghamA trusted accounts manager with a Norwich-based meat company, who stole �40,000 from his employers because of his mounting debt problems, has been jailed for 18 months.Christine Cunningham

A trusted accounts manager with a Norwich-based meat company, who stole �40,000 from his employers because of his mounting debt problems, has been jailed for 18 months.

Iain Dinning, 52, stole the cash over a five-year period from Smithfield Foods, in Whitefriars, Norwich, as a way of funding his family's day to day living, despite him getting a bonus of �10,000 for helping build up the success of the company, a court heard.

However, in February, last year, he resigned from his job and Andrew Shaw, prosecuting, said that just two days later discrepancies in the accounts were discovered and brought to the attention of the financial controller of the company.

Mr Shaw said that Dinning was interviewed by police about the matter, in May, and made full admissions that he had stolen the cash.

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Dinning, of Bligh Way, Rochester, Kent, admitted theft of �40,000 from the company and appeared at Norwich Crown Court for sentence yesterday.

Jailing him, Recorder Andrew Hurst told him he accepted that he had been previously of impeccable character and had been an effective employee helping increase the company turnover but said: 'This was a breach of trust. Over five years you stole �40,000 off your employer.'

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Recorder Hurst said that he could have sold his house in Kent at the height of housing boom to repay the cash or repaid the money using a �10,000 bonus he received but said Dinning had chosen not to and added: 'There was time after time when it was possible for you to try to pay the money back.'

He added: 'It is a tragedy for you and your family and it will no doubt cause considerable strain on your relationship with your wife and children.'

He said that Smithfield Foods had lost a great deal of money because of his actions and said the theft involved too much money and went on for too long a time for him to avoid custody.

'This was a serious breach of trust,' Recorder Hurst said.

Robin Griffiths, for Dinning, said that he had intended to pay the money back and said: 'The commission of this offence was not based on greed but of need. He found himself in financial difficulties.'

He said at first he intended to borrow the money and pay it back by selling his home, but after the crash in housing prices, he no longer had the equity in his property.

He said that eventually Dinning could not stand the deception and handed in his notice: 'He sent an e-mail tendering his resignation. He felt absolutely desperate.'

He said that Dinning knew his theft would be discovered in days.

He added that Dinning had been a successful employee as when he started in the job his budget was �800,000 and by the time he left it was �4m.

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