A boss hammered with a £13,000 bill for “humiliating” a dishonest employee by forcing him to parade in public with a sign saying “thief” around his neck has said he does not regret his actions.

Simon Cremer said he was “very hurt” when he found out Mark Gilbert, 40, had written a company cheque for £845 to himself and said he believed Mr Gilbert’s punishment – a police caution – was not good enough.

“It is a huge financial burden to have to find this money,” he told ITV Daybreak. “Do I regret what I did? I don’t know if I do, to be honest, because the police have given Mr Gilbert a caution for the theft which I don’t believe is a just punishment.”

He was adamant he would have given a “pat on the back” if someone had meted out the same punishment to a teenage child of his caught in similar circumstances.

“I would probably go and pat them on the back and say, ‘If you have stolen some money, then that is exactly what you deserve’,” he said.

Cremer said he had received huge public support over the incident.

The 46-year-old, who runs a floor-fitting business in Witham, Essex, forced Gilbert to wear a sign saying “THIEF. I Stole £845. Am on my way to the police station” in September 2008. Gilbert was arrested on suspicion of theft but later accepted a police caution.

Cremer then faced a charge of false imprisonment along with three other men but the case was dropped. The men agreed to be bound over to keep the peace at a hearing before a district judge in Colchester.

Cremer has made an out-of-court settlement to pay £5,000 compensation and £6,000 legal fees in a civil action brought by Gilbert for the “humiliation” he suffered. Together with a £2,000 legal bill, the total amounts to £13,000. He has said he had no option but to settle as fighting the claim would have been too expensive.