A manager at a McDonald's outlet in the South West has avoided a jail sentence despite stealing £39,000 in takings.
Audrey Craig, 47, who worked at the McDonald's restaurant on the M5 in Cullompton, Devon, admitted theft and false accounting charges when she appeared before Exeter Crown Court.
But when the court heard she had stolen the money to pay off debts and that she now lived on benefits she was spared jail and given a 300 hour community service order.
Craig had been responsible for banking the money overnight at the time of the theft in May 2005.
When first questioned by police she said she had taken the money with her but had been too tired to take it out of the car. She then said that the money had been stolen out of the car overnight.
She later admitted that she had simply kept the money herself, the court was told.
After the case police said they were not aware of any civil action as yet by McDonald's to recover the money, the bulk of which is still outstanding.
By Andrew Smith
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