Teen stole from firm to pay drug debt

A TEENAGER who stole �7,551 from his grandfather's small family business was spared custody yesterday after his family stood by him and arranged for him to “work off” his debt.

A TEENAGER who stole �7,551 from his grandfather's small family business was spared custody yesterday after his family stood by him and arranged for him to “work off” his debt.

James Emmerson, 18, was working in Raw Creation, based in Yarmouth, when he took two company chequebooks and cashed them to pay off his drug debts.

Duncan O'Donnell, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said the theft came to light but Emmerson denied any involvement. It was reported to police and he was arrested.

Emmerson, of Rosedale Gardens, Yarmouth, admitted 16 counts of fraudulently cashing cheques.

Katherine Moore, defending, said her client was supported by his family and was being allowed to work off his debt.

Judge Paul Downes told Emmerson: “This was a breach of trust and you ought to be grateful to your family.”

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He sentenced him to six months in a young offenders' institution, suspended for 18 months. Emmerson was also ordered to do 80 hours unpaid work for the community and given an 18-month supervision order under which he must attend a substance abuse programme.