A store manager hit a lucky streak after stealing thousands of pounds worth of National Lottery scratchcards from his work, a court heard.
Daniel Cassells stole 65 packets of cards with a retail value of £13,000 from the shop safe.
He activated the tickets on the store’s lottery terminal and went on to win substantial amounts of cash over the following six months.
He pocketed £11,000 in winnings from the cards he stole from the Co-operative, and that money was never recovered.
His luck ran out after he left the company, and his bosses noticed a massive shortfall in its lottery accounts.
They found CCTV footage of him taking hundreds of scratchcards from the safe, then discovered that the same batch numbers had been used to claim prizes in shops in Falkirk, Larbert and near his home in Carstairs.
Cassells, 29, admitted stealing the lottery cards on repeated occasions between March 1 and August 13, 2014.
The lucky thief’s good fortune returned when he appeared for sentence at Livingston Sheriff Court on Friday.
He narrowly avoided being sent to prison for a gross breach of trust thanks to a pleading letter from his wife.
Sheriff Peter Anderson sentenced him to an 18-month community payback order.
He also ordered Cassells to pay compensation of £13,000 to his former employer at the rate of £60 a month. That means it will take more than 18 years for him to repay his ill-gotten gains in full.
Prosecutor Alistair Macleod said that Cassells’ luck had run out after he quit his post as deputy manager at the chain’s Eliburn outlet in Livingston.
He resigned after learning he was about to be dismissed over “performance issues”.
Following his departure, managers became aware of discrepancies in the lottery scratchcard trading account and found that thousands of pounds worth of cards were missing.
An investigation unearthed CCTV footage of the accused taking 65 packets of cards from the safe and activating them.
He said: “Further investigation showed that cards from this batch had been used to claim winnings at shops near the accused’s home address.”
Sheriff Anderson told Cassells: “You now have to spend much of the rest of your life making up for what you have done.
“You’ve got a lot of making up to do to your wife. Have no doubt that it is her intervention that prevented you from going to jail today.”
He told Cassells: “There will be no other requirement such as unpaid work because you are already working long hours, and you need to keep on doing that in order to support your family.”