A SCHEMING nephew who almost destroyed his uncle’s business has been spared jail so that he can pay the money back.
David Shepherd, 26, defrauded Hartlepool barber Ronnie Eve out of £6,000 after Shepherd stole his identity.
Mr Eve had trusted Shepherd to help out with his shop in Owton Manor Lane.
But Shepherd secretly set up catalogue accounts in his uncle’s name and ordered more than £2,500 of goods.
He also stole £3,395 from the business’s bank account.
Shepherd was found guilty of six counts of fraud totalling £6,359 between October 2011 and May 2012 after a trial at Teesside Crown Court last October.
Shepherd returned to court to be sentenced yesterday after the judge gave him six months to show he was serious about wanting to pay his uncle back.
The court heard Shepherd had saved up £2.500 which he was ordered to pay Mr Eve immediately in compensation.
And he will have to pay him £300 every month until the full £6,000 debt is paid off.
Judge John Walford gave Shepherd 12 months prison which was suspended for two years.
Shepherd, of Newton Aycliffe, will also have to do 120 hours unpaid work and pay £600 prosecution costs.
Mr Eve, previously said: “It very nearly finished me. I treated him like a son.”