A gambling addict who stole almost £900,000 from his employers Nike has been jailed, police have said.
Christopher Rawding, 35, was a cash collector for the multi-national sports brand and abused his position over three-and-a-half years to siphon off money to fund his spiralling habit.
His job was to take in money from large retailers which had placed significant orders with Nike, but he diverted £890,000 paid by two independent traders into his own account between 2015 and 2018.
Northumbria Police said he was spending up to £5,000 a day on gambling, and he tried to cover up his stealing by using payments from other customers to clear the retailers’ balance.
When Nike realised what was happening they called in the police who launched an investigation, and Rawding was to admit the offences in interview.
The force said Rawding, of Belsay Gardens, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation and was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday for 40 months.
Proceedings have also been launched under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize any remaining assets that Rawding may have.
Outside court, Detective Constable Alan Lowery said: “This was a clear and prolonged abuse of trust as Rawding stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from his employer in order to fund his gambling addiction.
“He then used his specialist knowledge in a complex industry to desperately attempt to disguise his criminality over a number of years.
“His greed has had a significant effect on the retailers who continued to pay him in good faith, in the belief that their funds were being passed on to Nike.
“Rawding’s addiction grew out of control and he now acknowledges the true severity of his actions, which have been reflected in this custodial term.”