A COFFEE shop manager stole over £4,000 worth of takings from a Leominster branch.

Lee Humphreys, 33, admitted stealing the money while working at Coffee#1 in Corn Square between September 21 and 26.

Kriss Ewing, prosecuting, at Hereford Magistrates Court on Thursday said that the offence came to light when the finance department of the cafe shop chain noticed that six days of takings were missing.

As a result, Humphreys was interviewed by his employer and admitted that he had money issues and had stolen the funds, resulting in him being sacked.

He was interviewed by police and again admitted it. Humphreys said that he had been living beyond his means and that his debt had caught up with him.

Humphreys, now of Willow Street, Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, pleaded guilty at Hereford Magistrates Court to theft by employee.

Chris Read, mitigating, said that Humphreys had worked at various outlets in retail before being offered what appeared like a promotion at the Leominster store.

"What he hadn't factored into it was the cost of travelling to and from Leominster from South Wales as a result of the train fares and he was already in a difficult position with various debts," said Mr Read.

"He found himself in a position where he couldn't cope and simply couldn't make ends meet. At the end of the working day he didn't have money to get home so took some of that day's takings.

"He takes a small amount and then the next day takes some of that day's takings make-up for the previous day. It was a downwards spiral and it got to the point where he couldn't cope any more.

"When challenged he explained exactly what had happened and queried about trying to pay the money back."

Magistrates ordered Humphreys to complete a community order for 12 months and to complete 120 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £4,010 to Coffee#1 in compensation, £185 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.