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Newbury pizza shop manager stole to feed gambling habit

Defendant avoids jail - provided he doesn't gamble


THE night shift manager at a Newbury fast-food takeaway stole £8,016 to feed his raging gambling addiction.

Andrei Atudorei thought he could win big and pay it all back – but he was caught out when a suspicious colleague at Domino’s Pizza arranged an audit, Reading Crown Court heard on Thursday, April 12.

Sarita Basra, prosecuting, said the 28-year-old, of West Street, Newbury, was placed in a position of trust when he was appointed to the job in April, 2016.

She told the court: “A company manager, Mr Armstrong, became aware that no money was being banked.

“A security company, G4S, who were contracted to collect the takings on Mondays and Thursdays, had been turned away for the last three visits.

“Then Mr Armstrong had a phone call from the accountants saying there was a VAT bill due and not enough money in the account to pay for it.”

The net was closing on Atudorei, the court heard, as a suspicious Mr Armstrong ordered an audit and, suspecting a problem with the staff, inspected CCTV camera footage.

Ms Basra said: “The money should have been put in the safe and CCTV footage showed the defendant trying to obscure the camera.”

In possession of damning evidence, senior management confronted Atudorei, who immediately admitted his guilt.

A police search of his home uncovered slips for thousands of pounds worth of bets in his bedroom.

At a previous hearing he admitted stealing a total of £8,016 in cash from Domino’s Pizza take-away in Newbury between October 23 and November 4 last year.

However, in a basis of plea that was not accepted by the crown, he claimed he only stole £6,200.

Ms Basra said that most of the cash loss had been made good by an insurance claim, but that £2,500 remained outstanding.

Jonathan Underhill, for Atudorei, said his client was a man of previous good character who had developed a gambling addiction which had suddenly raged out of control.

He explained that Atudorei entertained the vain hope that he would have a big enough win to repay the cash he had stolen.

The court heard that, with medical help, Atudorei had since conquered his gambling addiction and now had a new job.

Mr Underhill said: “He is deeply remorseful and willing and able to repay the outstanding sum.”

Judge Angela Morris told Atudorei: “By your actions you breached the trust your employers placed in you.”

However she said that, having read pre-sentence reports, she was prepared to give Atudorei a chance to avoid an immediate custodial sentence.

Judge Morris told him: “I’m told you have a permanent job and wish to repay Domino’s Pizza. I’m going to put that to the test.

“Although the offence may qualify for a custodial sentence, it seems to me you’ve turned your life around, to a degree.”

She said she would defer sentence until September 11.

Judge Morris promised Atudorei that, provided he paid £2,500 to Domino’s Pizza, did not gamble in betting shops or online and did not commit any further offences, he would receive a non-custodial sentence on that date.

She concluded: “Sentence is deferred, under those terms.”

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Article comments

  • Hungerfordcis

    24/04/2018 - 10:10

    The government in this country really need to do something about the gambling epidemic - peoples lives are being ruined - these betting shops and online casinos need better, tougher controls - or outright banning


  • Tracer

    24/04/2018 - 09:09

    He should have to repay the full amount to the insurers too.