Court on camera – man stole change from photobooths


By Paul Thornton

A PHOTOBOOTH worker stole over £10,000 in loose change which he emptied from the machines.

Colin Smith, 35, worked for Snap Digital Imaging and travelled around Scotland collecting the takings from the passport picture booths.

But instead of banking the coins Smith used the cash to pay off bills and mortgage payments.

His scam was revealed after a company audit confirmed the missing cash and Smith was arrested.

And at Edinburgh Sheriff Court he pleaded guilty to embezzling £10,724 from the company during August 2008.

It was initially claimed that Smith took over £15,000 from the machines but a reduction in the amount was accepted by prosecutors.

Fiscal depute Malcolm Stewart told the court how over the course of a month Smith travelled across the country emptying machines and pocketing the coins.

Mr Stewart said: “Mr Smith was employed by this company, Snap Digital Imaging.

“They operate a number of these photobooths and his job took him to several locations across Central and the North of Scotland.

“He was entrusted with emptying all the cash and collecting all this money.

“Instead of banking this money he used the cash to pay off debts which he ran-up with bills and mortgage payments.

“There was a full admission as to how he had gone about it and this was confirmed by an audit at the company’s head office.

“He did try to contact the company to make repayments but by that time the company had stopped operating.”

Smith’s solicitor, David Taylor, added: “He entered into an agreement with the company to repay the sum but unfortunately the company went into liquidation before that could be put into effect.”

Sheriff Deirdre MacNeill deferred sentence for reports.

She said: “It is a pretty significant amount of money and obviously it is a breach of trust.”

Smith, of Spey Street, Kingussie, Inverness-shire, will be sentenced next month.

He was bailed until then.

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