A BAR and restaurant worker stole thousands of pounds from his bosses to feed his gambling addiction before fleeing from a taxi when he was rumbled.

Adam Thomas Richards, 23, stole £2,800 from The Lowther pub in Cumberland Street then £4,673 from Wagamama restaurant in Goodramgate, both in York city centre, but has been spared jail. He had already been sentenced for the Lowther theft in October last year, when he stole from Wagamama while working there as a front-of-house manager. When bosses there realised some takings were missing, they called him and other staff back from a training course in Harrogate to answer questions.

But before the taxi reached the restaurant, he got out and fled.

Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting at York Crown Court, said: “He was last seen heading for the railway station.”

Police tracked Richards, of Doncaster Road, Selby, to Chesterfield in Derbyshire where he was arrested and brought back to North Yorkshire.

Recorder Martin Bethel QC told Richards: “You are heading very quickly towards a very substantial prison sentence. If you are caught stealing someone else’s money again within 12 months, you can confidently expect a sentence that will be measured in years.”

He passed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months on condition he does 12 months’ supervision, goes on a rehabilitation course and does 150 hours’ unpaid work.

He was on a community order imposed in October 2011 for stealing the money from The Lowther on October 5 when he was working there as a bar supervisor.

Richards admitted that offence and the theft from Wagamama.

Mr Mitcheson said Richards had gone into the restaurant late at night and had turned off the burglar alarm then deactivated the inside security cameras that covered the area where the takings were held.

He had been to a casino in Leeds around the time he stole the restaurant’s money.

During police interviews he denied any involvement with the theft, which meant suspicion was cast on colleagues.

For Richards, Nicholas Barker said he had gambled since he was 18 and stole to fund his addiction.

He said: “He does appear to have a deeply ingrained gambling addiction. It is clearly a deep-seated and difficult matter to deal with.”