A courier from Wakefield who stole 22 mobile phones worth a total of more than £10,000 has avoided immediate jail.
Nicholas Cooper was in debt due to a ten-year gambling habit and agreed to steal phones to order after a man he met at an independent mobile phone shop put the idea to him, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Cooper, 42, was caught out when O2 investigated after he failed to deliver phones intended For the company’s store in Trinity Walk, Wakefield.
Leeds Crown Court heard Cooper, of Radcliffe Road, Lupset, worked for a company called Sambob Ltd, which subcontracted deliveries from DHL.
Cooper, who has no previous convictions, admitted stealing 22 phones from DHL worth a total of £10,763 over a six week period from August 16.
Prosecutor, Paul Canfield said on August 27 a senior loss prevention officer for DHL received a call from O2 to say two phones were missing from a secure bag delivered to a store that day.
An investigation was launched and mobile phones were found to have been missing from some of Cooper's previous deliveries to O2 stores.
Investigators checked a bag Cooper delivered to the O2 store in Trinity Walk, Wakefield, on October 1 and found there were two phones missing from the delivery.
Mr Canfield said that after Cooper was arrested he told police he had been in his work uniform when he went to an independent phone shop in mid August in connection with his personal mobile phone.
Cooper told police he was approached by a man in the shop who asked if he was willing to steal phones that he could sell on.
Mr Canfield said Cooper agreed to do it because he had gambling debts.
A probation officer told the court Cooper was responsible for seven children from his current and previous relationships.
He said Cooper earned up to £2,400 a month but spent his wages on gambling and had ended up with debts of more than £15,000.
The probation officer said: "There was significant remorse and regret."
Judge Neil Clark told Cooper: "It's clear that you have been struggling with your gambling problem for a long time."
Judge Clark handed Cooper a 20 week jail sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered him to do 180 hours of unpaid work.