AN EMPLOYEE stole dog food worth £1,600 from his employers to feed a drug habit.

York Magistrates Court heard Andrew Holland, 51, loaded his car up with the pet food at Dalton Mill near Thirsk and drove it to his York home.

He told police he needed money to buy drugs and he had intended to sell the dog food for cash.

“This is a bizarre offence,” district judge Adrian Lower said.

Holland, of Barstow Avenue, Tang Hall, pleaded guilty to theft.

It was his first conviction since 2003.

He was given an 18-month community order and ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £1,085 compensation to his then employers.

Prosecutor Jane Chadwick said although police had found some of the dog food at Holland’s house, most of it was missing and had not been recovered.

Holland told a probation officer he had had a heroin habit at the time.

The death of his father and sister had led to him spiralling back into drug use.

Holland said he was now on an anti-drug prescription, was clean of drugs and was being helped by the Changing Lives rehabilitation agency.

He was also getting medicine to help with his depression and now works in a factory.

He was convinced that as long as he continued to take his medication he wouldn’t steal again.

The court heard that CCTV cameras captured Holland loading Harringtons dog food into his car on February 29, 2020.

At the time he worked for Inspired Pet Nutrition Ltd, makers of Harringtons and Wagg dog food.