An "odd ball" sales assistant who pocketed £4,000 from his employer over six months was handed a suspended sentence.
Jevan Green, of Felday Road, London, stole about £150 a week from WHSmith in Upper Richmond Road West between July 1, 2013, and January 9.
The 31-year-old was caught out when his employer suspected money was going missing and installed a covert camera above the till, Kingston Crown Court heard.
Prosecuting Meyrick Williams said: "What they saw was in fact that the defendant was indeed pocketing money."
Mr Williams told the court Green, who had worked at the shop since December 2012, was interviewed and admitted he had been taking the cash.
The court heard the offence was in breach of a six month suspended sentence Green received from Woolwich Crown Court for production of cannabis on December 6, 2012.
Defending, Craig Crosbie, told the court Green was an "odd ball" but that he had paid back £60 of the stolen money and brought a further £20 to court.
He said: "He comes across, if I can say this, as a young man who a great part of him you feel is law abiding but there is something in him that seems to allow him to break the law.
"He's full of remorse and his first reaction was really 'I am terribly sorry, I didn't mean to do it'."
The court heard Green's girlfriend, Karina, was a supervisor at the shop and helped him get the job which, apart from working on building sites, was the only employment in his life.
She sat in the court's public gallery with her head in her hands and wrote a letter to the court, which Judge Jones read.
Mr Crosbie said: "Karina highlights in that letter the basic excuse that Mr Green makes for this. In that he was so hard up that he couldn't survive without stealing."
Green pleaded guilty to one charge of theft by employee at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on January 23, and was committed to Kingston Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday, February 20.
Judge Jones did not activate Green's breach of his past suspended sentence but gave him an additional four month sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, an activity requirement of 16 days and to pay a £80 victim surcharge.