A COMPANY director who stole more than £5,000 from his employers - despite having a £96,000 salary - has avoided being sent to prison.
Gary Crickmore, 53, of Aintree Way, Bourne, was working as business development manager at Fenmarc, a leading food produce supplier, when he used his company credit card for his personal gain, taking between £5,000 and £7,000 over a ten month period.
On Friday he appeared at Peterborough Crown Court after pleading guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position at a previous hearing.
He was given an 18 week jail term, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work at the hearing.
Judge Sean Enright said that had Crickmore pleaded not guilty he would have been jailed, but he was able to give a suspended sentence because he had ‘ruined his future.’
Cheryl Williams, prosecuting, told the court: “He had been working for the company since 1999, and had become well respected at the firm, having held a variety of positions.
“When he was appointed as business development manager he was given a company credit card and car. His role was to research competing products.
“However, in March this year the company noticed he seemed to have higher than expected expenses, and he had purchased more competing samples than expected.
“He was approached to supply the receipts for the items, but he was unable to provide them when asked.
“The matter was investigated by the company, and he was suspended at the end of March.
“At a gross misconduct meeting he was unable to explain the missing receipts, but admitted he had been in financial hardship, and had taken between £5,000 and £7,000 for shopping.
“He was dismissed as a result, and arrested by police.
“The company took £5,000 from his salary, so the money has been repaid.”
Defending, Ben Irwin said as a result of the offence Crickmore had ‘lost everything’ and there was no need to disqualify him from being a company director.
He said: “This is a case that can truly be described as tragic.
“He made a stupid and unsophisticated mistake that caused him to lose everything, including his home.
“He is out of work, but he is genuinely seeking work. He had an interview recently, but when details of this case were raised he failed to get the job.
“In this case it would serve no purpose to disqualify him from being a director.
“After this offence he will not be able to get a high up position.
“All a disqualification would do would be to add to his punishment.”
Judge Enright said; “You occupied a very senior position in this company, and were in a well paid role.
“But you began to steal from your employers over a period of approximately 10 months.
“But you were found out, and dismissed.
“Had this gone to trial and you had been convicted, custody would probably have follored.
“But in your favour the money has been repaid, you entered an early guilty plea, you have no previous offences and you have ruined your future.”