A post office manager who swindled more than £2500 from the safe of a village post office has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.
Dylan Lindo pocketed the cash from the post office he was in charge of in the tiny north-east Fife hamlet of Balmullo.
Lindo, originally from Belize, was responsible for putting together pouches of cash collected at the office for collection by security guards.
But in July last year the 28-year-old failed to hand over a bag containing £2550, instead keeping it for himself.
Fiscal depute Joanne Smith told Cupar Sheriff Court: "He was the only person with computer access to carry out banking for the cash uplifts. Cash in transit crews would attend and the pouches of money would be handed over to them.
"On July 29 it became apparent that there was a banking discrepancy. They became aware that £2550 had not been received despite computer records showing a pouch relating to that sum of money had been prepared by the accused on July 21.
"On August 10 two security officers attended at the locus and met with the accused who was working there. He was asked about the pouch that was unaccounted for and said he would have handed it over for uplift on July 25.
"He then stated he had not received an uplift on that date but security offiers were aware there had been a delivery of change on that date and he was asked why he didn't hand it over he didn't give any reasonable explanation."
He was suspended from his duties and CCTV discs were obtained showing him preparing the pouch and also showing cash in transit crew members delivering change and leaving without an uplift.
Lindo, 28, of Bonnygate, Cupar, pleaded guilty to embezzling £2550 from the Post Office in Balmullo, Fife, between June 30 and August 10 2011.
Katrina Clark, defending, said Lindo had been under "personal and financial pressure".
She said: "He was born in Belize where he lived until the age of nine with his grandparents. It was identified that he was academically gifted and he moved to the USA for high school. He then came to the UK for university but dropped out due to financial problems.
"He moved to Fife to study at St Andrews University for an arts degree and was working at the post office to support himself. It wasn't a sophisticated embezzlement and he was inevitably found out because of the computer records.
"He was under financial and personal pressure at the time after his father committed suicide and his grandmother who raised him died. He is shocked and disgusted at himself that he committed this offence.
"There's no suggestion that he has been anything other than trustworthy and highly regarded in the past. He appreciates it was a gross breach of trust and it is a matter of great disappointment to himself that it was committed."
Sheriff John Halley placed Lindo on a community payback order and told him to carry out 240 hours unpaid work in the community.
He said: "This was a serious offence that involved a breach of trust in your responsibility for dealing with money.
"It is a matter that would normally be required to be dealt with by a sentence of imprisonment. But you are clearly a young man with considerable potential and with the ability to contribute significantly to the community and society."