Liverpool

Gambling addict stole disabled Liverpool fans group's cash

Liverpool fans Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Philip Lea admitted stealing funds from the group and leaving the coffers almost empty

A gambling addict who stole thousands of pounds intended to help disabled Liverpool fans attend matches has been given a suspended jail term.

Philip Lea, 33, the ex-treasurer of the Liverpool Disabled Supporters Association, was given a 10-month sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that between July and September Lea, of St James's Drive, Bootle, stole about £12,500 - almost all the group's funds.

He admitted fraud by abuse of position.

On Tuesday, the court heard Lea had used the funds for his gambling habit and left just £13.02 in the account.

Philip Hall, from Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Lea cleared out their accounts and almost destroyed the organisation.

"Understandably, many members have been deeply hurt and saddened by what he has done. By sheer hard work they have managed to stay afloat and put money back into the coffers."

Lea was also ordered to carry out a rehabilitation activity.

Stephen Evans, secretary of the association said it welcomed the sentence but added its main concern was to try and recoup the money and move on.

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