SAMUEL Avery narrowly avoided prison for stealing more than £10,000 from his employer.

Avery, 26, stole from Martins of Winchester car dealer, magistrates heard.

The court was told between September 27 and October 18, Avery, of Victoria Road, Bishop’s Waltham, took £10,444.68 over eight occasions over the three-week period.

He admitted overcharging a customer £1,300, falsifiying an account and seven counts of theft Magistrates imposed a two-year jail term suspended 12 months.

Avery must also undertake 200 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

There was no order for compensation as that is being sought through the civil courts, magistrates were told.