Steve Beeson, 54, of Ingram Road, Boston, admitted theft as an employee and wasting police time, when he appeared at Boston Magistrates Court.
Prosecuting, Dan Pietryka said the panic alarm was activated at New Horizon Amusements in the Market Place at 8.30am on January 24 and Beeson, who ran the business, told police who attended that the shop had been robbed and acid had been thrown in his face as he opened up.
He said officers found Beeson on the floor complaining that his face was burning and alleging that £3,100 had been stolen.
There was bleach bottle on the floor, he said.
Beeson alleged there had been a knock on the door and a man there took the money from him and threw something in his face.
However, said Mr Pietryka, officers found internal cctv footage that showed Beeson pouring fake acid over his own face, which Beeson was unable to explain.
Mr Pietryka said nine police officers and four PCSOs had been involved in the investigation of the fake robbery, as well as the ambulance crew who took him to hospital.
He said Beeson admitted to being ‘heavily in debt’ and that he had received threats to pay it back.
He said he had several Payday loans and had been told to stage the robbery to get the funds to pay those back, adding that the money, which he had stolen a week earlier, had not been recovered.
Beris Brickles, mitigating, said: “What on earth is a 54 year old man doing before a court for the first time in his life, facing these allegations?”
He said it was a result of being ‘seriously in debt’, partly as a result of his partner having a serious illness which meant they had to travel three times a week to Leicester for treatment, but also because he had taken out loans over a period of time until he had ended up with a Payday lender.
He said he had borrowed £1,500 which had risen to £4,500 with interest and had been assaulted when he couldn’t pay.
He said that on the last occasion he had been shown a photographs of his wife going into Leicester hospital and his son leaving work, as a threat as to what would happen if he didn’t pay.
He said Beeson came up with a scheme to take the money from the float at work and pay £3,100 to the loan sharks and repay it with a genuine loan to be taken out by a relative, but this loan did not work out and he could not put the float money back, so he made up the robbery story.
Mr Brickles said Beeson was ‘very upset and ashamed by what he did’ and said he could have taken far more but only took what he needed to get the loan sharks off his back.
He added that he had now started a repayment plan for his £12,000 of debts with help from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Beeson was given an eight week prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to repay the £3,100.