AN assistant supermarket manager has been given a suspended jail sentence after admitting stealing £8,000 in takings to pay off a loan shark.

Mark Rawsthorne had told his boss at Aldi on St Helens Retail Park that he was resigning, but failed to turn up for work the next day. Four days later he sent a text to another boss admitting what he had done and the day after walked into a police station with £4,900 of the cash.

When interviewed, the 27-year-old admitted his dishonesty and pleaded guilty to theft at Liverpool Crown Court.

Sentencing Rawsthorne to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, judge Brian Lewis said it was a serious breach of trust and warned him that if he breached the order, he would go to jail.

Rawsthorne, of Pine Tree Avenue, Prenton was also ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

Neil Gunn, defending, said that Rawsthorne’s actions had been “a moment of madness”.

He had borrowed £700 from an associate who was a loan shark and the debt quickly rose to £1,700 and he was subjected to threats.