A zoo worker has been jailed after being convicted of stealing £180,000 from his previous job. Gambling addict Daniel Remmington stole from Liverpool Motor Auctions over the course of a year.

The business folded with other staff members lost their jobs as a result of his stealing. At Liverpool Crown Court jurors heard the 29-year-old - of the Scythes in Greasby, Wirral - stole a total of £186,000 from the car auction company between March 2019 and April 2020 while working as its cashier and bookkeeper. Robert Dudley, prosecuting, described how Remmington would take the business’ cut of cash sales before paying the funds into his own Halifax bank account.

Even after he was under investigation when £160,000 was found to be missing, he continued to take another £20,000, the Liverpool Echo reported. Remmington also bought a Nissan Qashqai from the company, but never paid a penny for it after using a fake name for the sale. The auctioneers was left with a £5,500 shortfall as a result, with half of the price being paid via a cheque from his mum.

David Birrell, defending, told the court that his client had been described as “hard-working and respectful” and “always going above and beyond” in references from a professor at NHS England, a solicitor and his “most recent employer” Chester Zoo. He added: “Of course, Mr Remmington knows that immediate custody is inevitable.

“He was in a trusted position as a cashier, but perhaps not the most trusted person one can imagine in an organisation. He acknowledges, of course, that people lost their jobs. The offending is now old, although the defendant had a hand in the delay because he maintained his innocence. He has academic qualifications - GCSEs, A-levels and a university degree.

“He has a decent work record. Your honour knows that he was working right up until his remand into custody. There has now, at this late hour, been some steps taken to address his gambling addiction. He has admitted to that addiction, which was obvious given the amount he was gambling.

“He now recognises that he has a problem and he is trying to do something about it. The court may feel that gambling explains his offending - if he can address his gambling, it will extinguish the risk of any reoffending. His mother did rely on him significantly prior to his remand into custody. She will find it difficult without him.”

Remmington, who has no previous convictions, was found guilty of fraud by abuse of position by a jury. Appearing via video link to HMP Liverpool, he was jailed for six years.

Sentencing, Judge Louise Brandon said: “All or most of the cash which came into the business passed through your hands. It transpired that you were helping yourself to large sums of cash from the business and falsifying records to cover your tracks.

“It was a successful business, making profits of about £150,000 per year. It was obvious that the only person with the means to take the money and falsify records was you.

“You were spending these funds on gambling and purchases. There was a clear and obvious increase in your spending at the time of the money going missing from the company.

“It is clear that all of the money you took was used to clear your overdraft or went straight over the counter or into betting terminals at William Hill.”

Judge Brandon said of Liverpool Motor Auction: “Its loss is a heavy blow to the area. It was the only car auction company in Liverpool. Given that you continue to maintain your innocence and your failure to repay a single penny that you stole, those staff are still waiting for answers. They may conclude that they lost their jobs because of you.

“There has been a devastating impact on the company and staff. Many of them worked for the company for many years. You are of previous good character. You are still a relatively young man.”

Remmington now could be ordered to repay his ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act. He was also handed a restraining order banning him from contacting the company’s owner for 15 years.

Merseyside Police’s Detective Inspector Chris Hawitt said following yesterday’s sentencing: “This was a lengthy and complex fraud investigation, and I’m thankful that a jury saw through Remmington’s lies and found him guilty of the offence. I hope this case highlights that stealing from a business is not a victimless crime and can impact on innocent people.

“Sadly, a number of people lost their jobs and this would not only have affected them but also their families who would have been distressed and worried. This impact was clearly lost on Remmington, and he will now be left to consider the full consequences of his actions behind bars.”