A Te Puke beekeeper who stole nearly $14,000 worth of company assets, including 400kg of bees, has been sentenced to 140 hours' community work.

Leon Raymond Guy, 36, who earlier pleaded guilty to six charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, was also ordered to pay $13,879 reparation by November 1, when he was sentenced by Judge Thomas Ingram in Tauranga District Court yesterday.

The police summary of facts revealed Guy, a shareholder and manager of Kintail Beekeeping Te Puke for six years, was responsible for looking after its beehives.

Between August 1, 2010, and April 13 this year, Guy helped himself to bees and other products. Between March and April this year he unlawfully used the Kintail fuel card three times to fill up his girlfriend's vehicle with diesel worth about $300.


Guy's lawyer, Craig Horsley, said the summary accurately reflected Guy's offending, which had been opportunistic after he had lent some money to a friend and put it on his credit card.

Mr Horsley said when Guy got into financial strife and couldn't repay the money he started taking more substantial amounts, and was remorseful for his actions.

Guy had co-operated with the company and the police investigation to establish the exact amount he had stolen and was committed to paying the reparation. .

Judge Ingram said Guy's offending had been a significant breach of trust, and required a substantial period of community work, after allowing him a discount for his early guilty pleas.

But the judge warned Guy that if he failed to comply with his sentence, particularly paying the reparation by the deadline, he would be brought back for re-sentencing.