When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Adam Clarke stole £7,000 from garages and golf clubs
A FATHER-TO-BE has been given a suspended jail sentence after stealing more than £7,000 from garages and golf clubs across north Hampshire.
Adam Clarke, left, started the series of offences in May this year when he was working as a receptionist at the Basingstoke MOT & Tyre Centre, in Wade Road, Daneshill.
Kate Prince, prosecuting, said between May 7 and June 22, Clarke took orders from friends for tyres and other car parts but kept the proceeds for himself. He took around £4,180 from the garage, and lost his job when his employer found out what was going on.
Miss Prince added that on June 30, Clarke broke into the clubhouse of Avington Park Golf Course, in Winchester, but nothing was stolen.
On July 17, he broke into Farnborough Value Tyres, where he had previously worked, and stole £1,000 from the till.
On the same day, he stole number plates from a car parked in Basingstoke and attached them to his girlfriend’s car. He later filled the car at a Winchester petrol station with £52 worth of diesel and left without paying.
A week later, on July 24, he stole small amounts of cash from Hill Farm Garage in Winchester and Four Marks Golf Club.
Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard the crime spree ended on July 26 when Clarke stole £3,500 worth of property, including a diagnostics machine, from the Wheatsheaf Garage in Popham Lane, North Waltham.
Miss Prince said Clarke handed himself in to the police when he heard there was a warrant out for his arrest, having been identified on CCTV.
Elizabeth Cox, defending, said that after Clarke lost his job with Basingstoke MOT and Tyre Centre, he was living off his partner’s maternity pay and hand-outs from her family.
She said: “The burglaries were just a panic about his financial situation that was exacerbated by the expectation of the arrival of his new baby. He reacted to a situation which was not as bad as he perceived it to be.”
Clarke, of Tortuga Walk, Popley, Basing-stoke, pleaded guilty to five burglaries, one count of theft by an employee, one theft from a motor vehicle, and making off without payment.
Presiding magistrate Marian Foster sentenced Clarke to eight months in jail, suspended for 12 months, and ordered him to do 200 hours unpaid work. He was also told to pay £1,771.75 compensation.
After the hearing, Sean Gorman, director of the Autocentre Group, which includes the Basingstoke MOT & Tyre Centre, expressed surprise at the sentence.
He said Clarke was a “trusted employee” who blamed his colleagues for the missing money – costing them their bonuses – when the theft offence came to light.
Mr Gorman added: “How can a man admit to and be convicted of burglaries, fraud and theft and not get prison time? A suspended sentence and community service – the punishment does not fit the crime.”
Comments are closed on this article.