Beds, Herts & Bucks

Manager 'sorry' for £20,000 theft at Bedford dealers

A former business manager has been jailed for a year for stealing £20,000 from a vehicle dealership in Bedford.

Richard Money, 37, from Deeping St James near Peterborough, told police when caught: "What I have done is bloody stupid. I am truly sorry."

He blamed a cocaine habit for money problems and was "bitter" the Land Rover firm failed to pay him a bonus.

He pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and one charge of false accounting at Luton Crown Court.

'Drug problems'

Judge Jeffrey Burke QC said: "You were a middle manager in a position of trust and this was a gross breach of trust.

"I have been urged to suspend the inevitable custodial sentence but I cannot do that.

"I accept you have taken steps to combat your drug problems and are making real efforts to make amends and turn your life around."

Prosecutor Claudette Elliott said Money began working for Marshall Land Rover in August 2009.

His dishonesty involved stealing £3,750 paid to him in cash by a customer who had purchased a Freelander vehicle.

'Not sophisticated'

He also arranged for £11,000 to be paid into his wife's bank account making it appear it was for the purchase of a vehicle.

He created false paper work, naming a fictitious garage in Peterborough, enabling him to withdraw a further £20,400 out of which he repaid the original £11,000 he had stolen.

Steven Garratt, defending, said: "He had a vague idea in his mind that the money would be repaid.

"It was not sophisticated and he cannot imagine it would have gone unnoticed.

"He is now separated from his wife and children and his life has been completely disrupted.

"But he is clean of drugs and is making real and genuine efforts to repay his debts."

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