A student working at Asda on Saturdays pocketed more than £1,500 to fund university and help out his family, a court heard.
Ismail Ahmed, who is in his final year of a BSc in biochemistry at Manchester University, helped himself to the cash from the tills at the store's branch in Colne. The 22-year-old had worked there for three years.
Burnley magistrates were told how Ahmed was caught after investigations at the shop.
He was sacked immediately and banned from all Asda stores. He had never been in trouble before and has repaid Asda the £1,560 he stole.
Mrs Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said when the defendant was interviewed, he said he had taken £180 on Saturday, September 8th and saved it for university. He told police he had about £400 to £500 of stolen cash in his bank account.
The prosecutor continued: " He said he was in his third year at university and did it so he would be financially comfortable for the forthcoming year.
"He lived with his family, his dad had three jobs and he wanted to contribute."
Miss Alia Khokhar, defending, said Ahmed got a student loan and was struggling financially. He knew what he had done was wholly unacceptable.
The solicitor said: " He has put himself in a predicament in terms of future employment and he is very upset about that."
"He wants to put this matter behind him. He's utterly regretful and ashamed of his behaviour."
A probation officer who interviewed Ahmed said he had shown remorse. She added: "His father was working three jobs and he felt he was a burden on his father."
The defendant, of Leeds Road, Nelson, admitted six counts of theft, in August and September. He was given a 12-community order, with 100 hours unpaid work and must pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
The Bench chairman told Ahmed he had abused the trust placed in him by Asda adding:"To say you have been absolutely idiotic is an understatement.
"This now will not go away. "