A JEWELLERY shop worker has been cleared of stealing almost £30,000 from his employers.

It took a jury at Manchester Crown Court less than 60 minutes to find Christopher Kempster unanimously not guilty of three counts of theft from Prestons of Bolton.

During a four-day trial the jury was told that 23-year-old Kempster, who worked in the Deansgate store’s cash for gold department, used three different schemes to pocket money belonging to the company.

The prosecution claimed that there were 101 discrepancies in accounting records made by Kempster between December, 2011, and July, 2012, indicating he was taking an average of £1,000 a week.

But Kempster argued that he had pointed out mistakes in the record keeping himself which were ignored by his line manager Kate Connelly.

He stressed that other people also had access to the “gold tin” where the float was kept to pay customers who wanted to sell their second hand gold.

Kempster told the jury that sometimes cash would be sent to the company’s Wilmslow store and the transfer might not be logged, or that the company’s owner, Karl Massey, would take money from the tin, which would not be questioned because “it was his money”.

He added that he had not reported the discrepancies he had come across to staff more senior than Ms Connelly.

He said: “There were a lot of things, not just in gold, that were going wrong at that shop. Mr Massey was the last person you wanted to find out,” he said.