Low-paid call centre worker Imran Ahmed could not believe his luck – when he found almost £250,000 in his bank account.
He should have been paid £353 in wages by retail giant Dixons but instead they paid him £242,558.
So Ahmed, aged 21, went on a spending spree – splashing out £14,000 on two cars, loaning £10,000 to a pal, and placing bets at the bookies.
He frittered away £28,000 in two days before coming clean to his bosses.
Ahmed, who worked at the Know How call centre at Nunnery Square, Sheffield, admitted theft at Sheffield Crown Court.
David Wain, prosecuting, said: “It is not through any fault of his own the money came into his account, but he then started to draw it for his own purposes.
“Once his employers became aware it caused some panic, but he co-operated and it led to the recovery of the vast proportion of the money.”
Ahmed told police he thought it might have been the proceeds of gambling.
Amy Earnshaw, defending, said: “It was an error on the part of the employer.”
In the past Ahmed had spent a ‘large amount’ on gambling and thought he had ‘got lucky’.
Ahmed, who was sacked by Dixons, is now repaying the outstanding £28,000 at a rate of £10 a month.
Ahmed, now of Coventry, was given a four-month jail term suspended for a year and ordered to do 140 hours’ unpaid community work.
Judge Sarah Wright said: “In the unusual circumstances I have come to the decision you don’t have to serve immediate custody.”