A SHOP manager who swindled his own store before running off carrying £35,000 in a Tesco carrier bag has been jailed.

Crook Taylor Reece sealed his shocked staff inside the Repair My Phone Today shop by closing the blinds as he fled with the huge sum of cash.

Despite his dramatic getaway from the New Inn Hall Street shop the 41-year-old of Aldrich Road, Oxford, later handed himself in and admitted theft by employee.

Reece appeared at Oxford Crown Court yesterday facing a Newton hearing - where the facts of the case are disputed and need to be decided by a court judge.

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He had claimed the total money stolen was some £19,000, but he went on to drop his case and was sentenced for the full theft of £35,485.05.

Outlining the incident prosecutor John Waller said Reece was employed at the Oxford phone shop as a store manager.

As part of his role he completed the 'cashing up' at the shop and also had to cash money from an adjacent Western Union.

On November 30 2017 Reece was seen by another employee to be piling money into a plastic bag, seemingly performing his usual duties.

On this day, however, he placed that bag into another Tesco carrier bag and then 'ran out the store without warning.'

He went on to close the shutters 'in order to stop anybody chasing after him.'

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The money that had been snatched was made up of more than £19,000 in Western Union money as well as £14,000 that had served as a 'float.'

There was also £1,572.74 in store takings.

A warrant was duly issued for his arrest and eventually he handed himself in and was interviewed by police on December 18 2017.

The court also heard he has a string of previous offences for other dishonesty crimes, including handling offences and burglary.

In mitigation his defence barrister Ronan McCann said that immediately after the city theft Reece had travelled to London to see his family.

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Mr McCann added that his client had a 'long standing gambling problem' but had no drugs or alcohol problems.

The court heard he had used the money - which has never been recovered - to pay off a gambling debt and for his family.

Before his final sentencing Reece, from behind the dock, apologised for what he had done and said he was 'ashamed' of his actions.

Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross said the theft had caused a 'considerable impact' on the owner of the business who is now having to repay the stolen money as well as interest to Western Union.

Reece was jailed for a total of 32 months.

A further proceeds of crime hearing will also be held to recover his ill-gotten gains at a date to be confirmed in July.