Devon

Royal Marine spared prison for Afghan kit fraud

A Devon Royal Marine has been spared a jail term after admitting he received £15,000 compensation in a false claim for damaged kit.

Marine Kieran Morton, 31, of Juniper Way, Plympton, admitted theft, two deceptions and seven frauds.

He claimed £15,000 for belongings damaged in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan between 2006 and 2008.

At Plymouth Crown Court he was given a six month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.

Fake emails

He was also ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid community work and repay the money.

Morton filed for just under £18,000 worth of compensation after claiming he had been blown up twice in Afghanistan and swept away down a river in Sierra Leone.

The court heard he would forge e-mails from his superiors to back up his stories.

He told insurers he had lost watches, mobiles, laptops and clothing in a rocket propelled grenade attack and a landmine strike while he was in Helmand Province.

He also said he had clothing stolen from the communal laundry room at his Plymouth barracks.

'Public service'

Morton started making his claims within a month of taking out a policy with Forces Financial in 2006 and made three claims in the first nine months, including one for a Bergen rucksack lost in a river in Sierra Leone.

When Forces Financial became suspicious they cancelled his policy and he started another one with a private firm and continued to make claims.

Judge Stephen Wildblood, QC, said: "This type of offending undermines the insurance system and affects the wider public because it has an impact on premiums."

He said he suspended the prison sentence due to several mitigating factors including that Morton had "demonstrated a high degree of service to the public and your country."

Morton served in Afghanistan as part of the UK Landing Force Command Support Group.

He has applied to be discharged from the Royal Marines.

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