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Former special police constable avoids jail sentence after embezzling from Scotland’s best baker

Special Constable Michael McDiarmid
Special Constable Michael McDiarmid

A former special police constable who embezzled from Scotland’s newly-crowned baker of the year has narrowly avoided a prison sentence.

Michael McDiarmid took £2,403 from Inverness-based Harry Gow, with whom he’d worked as a delivery driver.

The court heard he had been abusing his position – and access to a safe – to remove a number of small sums of cash.

His actions were soon spotted by senior managers however, who scoured CCTV footage and discovered that the 33-year-old was the culprit.

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At Inverness Sheriff Court yesterday, he pled guilty to embezzling £2,403.17 from Harry Gow, Beauly, and elsewhere while he was an employee of the business.

The offences date back to July, 2016.

Sentencing the first offender to 150 hours of unpaid community work and ordering him to pay back the sum, Sheriff Gary Aitken told him: “This was a gross breach of your employer’s trust.

“It merits a custodial sentence but I am narrowly persuaded to impose a community-based disposal.

“If you breach it, then you will come back here and it is almost inevitable you will be sent to prison.”

Depute fiscal David Morton had earlier told the court that McDiarmid, of Keppoch Road in Inverness, had been employed as a driver for the award-winning bakery.

One of his duties was to collect the takings from shops at Beauly and Tain at the end of the day.

Mr Morton said: “The funds were left in a safe and the drivers, who worked alone, had access to those safes.

“Managers started to realise there were discrepancies and alerted Harry Gow’s headquarters in Inverness.

“CCTV was reviewed and the common denominator was found to be Michael McDiarmid.

“When challenged about it, he initially denied involvement but investigations convinced his employers that he was responsible.

“He was dismissed and a report was made to the police.”

Reading from the background report prepared by social workers, Sheriff Aitken noted that McDiarmid still did not accept responsibility for the offence.

But he was told that McDiarmid did now accepted his guilt – though he was at a loss to explain why he had taken the money.

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