Essex: ‘Disgusted’ boss who ‘humiliated’ thief agrees to pay him �13k compensation

A BOSS who caught an employee stealing and then frogmarched him to a police station has had to pay �13,000 for “humiliating” him.

Mark Gilbert, 40, was paraded through the streets of Witham after his boss Simon Cremer discovered the father-of-three had written out a cheque for �845 to himself.

He was forced to wear a sign around his neck saying: “THIEF. I Stole �845. Am on my way to the police station.” A furious Mr Cremer accompanied him to be quizzed by detectives.

However, Gilbert was let off with a police caution while Mr Cremer, of Little Maplestead, was hauled before the courts accused of false imprisonment.

The distraught employer was facing a possible lengthy jail sentence until the case against him eventually collapsed.

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But Gilbert, formerly of Colchester and now of Bristol, launched a civil claim for compensation and Mr Cremer’s nightmare continued.

Now the employer has had to hand his former employee �5,000 in compensation for the “humiliation” he suffered.

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Mr Cremer, 47, also has to pay �8,000 in legal fees following the theft in Witham.

He said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting that he was even able to sue me after he had stolen from me to be honest. I don’t want to give him a penny after what he did, so it really sticks in my throat.

“He stole from me yet he is the one who is walking away with the money. It makes me so angry.”

Gilbert started legal action in an effort to claim for two years lost earnings and the “distress” he suffered in October 2008.

The floor-fitter claimed he had suffered trauma and distress and needed psychological help after the incident.

The case had been due to come before a civil court yesterday, but father-of-two Mr Cremer said he could not risk the expense involved in a full hearing in which he could potentially have faced a much higher payout.

Instead, he reluctantly paid Gilbert an out-of-court settlement rather than fight the case and be saddled with high legal bills.

Mr Cremer, who lives with his 45-year-old partner Karen Boardman, – who has been battling breast cancer – said: “It would have cost me �25,000 just to go to court, so I had no option but to settle out of court.”

Mr Gilbert had earlier admitted writing the cheque out to himself and cashing it, claiming he was owed wages he wanted to use for a holiday and his boss was too busy to write it himself.

But staff at Cash Converters became suspicious and contacted Mr Cremer who called Gilbert into work to confront him along with three other workers.

Speaking after the incident in 2008 Gilbert said he feared he was going to be killed as he was bundled into the back of a van.

He said: “They laid into me. I was begging Simon to let me go to the police. They said they didn’t trust me and they had to tie me up.

“They stopped at the pub, so they could march me through the streets. I wished the world would swallow me up, I hoped no one would recognise me.”

“I probably deserved it for what I did. Fair enough but I wasn’t stealing from him and I paid the money back.’’

Mr Cremer, his brother Andrew, 43, and two colleagues were hauled into court on criminal charges but the case against them was dropped in December 2008.

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