POLICE who searched a house at Chirk found an Aladdin's cave of stolen property.
Mold Crown Court heard how Dennis Brian Evans had been systematically stealing from his employers for more than nine months and hoarded all the items in a bedroom.
Evans, 58, of John Street, Chirk, had stolen property valued at almost £7,000 from Phoenix Distribution, a wholesale chemist supplier based in Wrexham.
Among the haul was a large quantity of tamazepan tablets which Evans claimed he intended to give his wife who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer.
But he had not given any to her and she had stuck to her prescribed medication, the court was told.
Evans admitted stealing property to the value of £6,849, including 32 boxes of controlled drugs, inhalers, cosmetics, toiletries, cameras, sweets and confectionery.
But he escaped a prison sentence - partly because of a long delay in bringing the case to court.
Judge John Rogers QC told Evans: 'Over a period of about nine months you systematically stole property belonging to your employer. You were able to do that because they trusted you but you breached that trust.' The judge told Evans he could have no complaint if he was sentenced to immediate custody.
But there were important matters which he should bear in mind in his favour.
He had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and that was in August of last year. It had taken until June of this year for the police and the CPS to get the case before the Magistrates Court in Wrexham.
'In my judgment, you ought to have been before the court six months ago. That delay has in itself been a punishment to you,' said Judge Rogers.
'It is important. This man of good character has known that eventually he will have to face this court and he was likely to lose his liberty.
'In the meantime, he cannot get on with his life. He has been done a great dis-service.'
The judge said he took the view it was highly unlikely Evans would offend again.
He ordered Evans to carry out 180 hours community punishment and pay £435 costs.
Nicholas Williams, prosecuting, said security staff at the pharmaceutical wholesalers carried out a routine check on Evans' car and found stolen property in a holdall.
When police searched his home, they found what an officer described as an 'Aladdin's Cave' of stolen property.
Interviewed, he admitted taking one or two items such as deodorants which he planned to give as Christmas presents.
Mr Parry said his client was a man of good character who had no explanation for why he had stolen the property.
It had been a traumatic time, particularly the length of time the case had been hanging over his head.