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Supermarket accidentally pays worker £1.4m

Bungling supermarket bosses have mistakenly paid an employee more than £1 million in wages.

Shocked Co-op employee Stephen Foster first discovered the blunder when his pay slip showed the firm had paid him £1.4 million.

He was even more surprised to find that when he checked his account at a cash machine, his balance had rocketed to more than £800,000.

But honest Mr Foster, who works at the Co-op's regional distribution centre, in Birtley, Gateshead, contacted his bosses to alert them to the mistake.

He did not touch a penny and within hours the money had been repaid. Mr Foster's honesty has been rewarded with a crate of Budweiser beer.

Mr Foster, who lives in Gateshead, is unable to speak about the biggest pay day of his life, because of restrictions in his contract with the Co-op.

A friend told the Evening Chronicle: "I heard about it through another friend and had a chat with Stephen who showed me the pay-slip.

"You could see all the deductions on it for tax and things. You'd think the temptation to leave the country would cross your mind. It's quite a thing.

"But he didn't touch a penny and he made sure he gave it straight back. It's a wonderful thing to hear at this time of year."

A spokesman for the Co-operative said: "Due to a error in our wages department earlier this month, Stephen Foster, an employee at our Birtley regional distribution centre, received a monthly salary payment of £1.4 million.

"After deductions, around £800,000 was paid into his bank account.

"This was somewhat higher than he would normally expect but thanks to his honesty and that of his girlfriend, who first spotted the error, he immediately informed us of the mistake and the money was back with us within 12 hours of it being paid to him.

"We were surprised and concerned about our mistake but not by Stephen's exemplary behaviour, which is typical of him.

"Coming as it does just before Christmas, it's the kind of act that renews your faith in human nature."

Source: The Belfast Telegraph