A GROUNDSMAN from Chester stole more than £3,000 of fuel from his former employers, which he sold onto friends and former colleagues to help fund his drug use, a court heard.
Kevin Pritchard was sacked by Crown Construction on November 3.
But he went on to use the company fuel card the same day and on two more occasions to obtain £3,229 of fuel from petrol stations in Chester and Saltney, before selling it on for cash.
Pritchard, 27, of Brigadier Close, Saighton, was caught after being identified on CCTV obtaining the fuel at Morrisons petrol station, Bache, Chester, and at a further two petrol stations elsewhere in Chester and Saltney.
Pritchard pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation when he appeared before West Cheshire Magistrates yesterday.
Rob Youds, prosecuting, told the Chester court Pritchard was arrested after Laurence Eddleston, a site manager for Crown Construction at Rough Hill, Chester, cancelled the company card when the fraudulent use came to light.
Pritchard had been sacked by the company for poor performance, the court heard.
He admitted to police he had used the company card to obtain fuel to sell to fund his day to day living expenses, but Ceri Lewis, defending, told the court Pritchard had since admitted to having a drug problem and as a result had lost two jobs.
She said: “Mr Pritchard has made a full and frank admission with regards to this offence.
“Stupidly, he went on to sell the fuel to friends and former colleagues.
“He has a drug problem and has stated he wants to address this.
“He says he has used cocaine which has progressed to the use of crack cocaine and that is why he committed this offence.
“He is in rent arrears and needs to put everything on hold to get on an even keel.
“He is extremely remorseful and wished to apologise personally to the company.
“His family are here in court and are very supportive.”
Magistrates sentenced Pritchard to a
12-month community order with six months supervision.
He was also ordered to complete a
six-month drug rehabilitation order, along with 240 hours of unpaid work.
Pritchard was also ordered to pay £3,229.02 in compensation to Crown Construction, and was told to pay a £60 victim surcharge.