A BAILIFF who stole nearly £10,000 from a debt collection company in Waltham Abbey has been spared jail.
Gary Walker, 43, of St Edmunds Close, Gorleston, pleaded guilty to theft by employee and fraud by abuse of position between October 2011 and July 2012.
Walker is now in a wheelchair after a series of mini strokes and also having been electrocuted. Chelmsford Crown Court heard that he lost £1,450 of the Marston Group’s money on his way to the bank, and fearing he would be sacked, borrowed cash from a loan shark to cover it up.
But when he missed one repayment, the interest escalated and he was threatened. Walker borrowed £3,000 from the loan shark but ended up repaying £8,000.
Events spiraled out of control and he was caught out when a Marston client claimed he had already paid a debt.
On June 29 last year a defaulter reported he had paid £620 and not the £20 recorded on a receipt handed in by Walker. A full investigation showed £13,972 had been stolen of which Walker had repaid £4,272.
On Thursday last week, recorder Duncan Atkinson imposed a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years with two years’ supervision.
He said Walker had betrayed his employer’s trust and the public’s and laid open to risk defaulters from whom he was collecting fines and council tax.
The judge said he could take a lenient approach because of Walker’s low risk of re-offending, previously impeccable character and ill health.
He said he had not made any financial gain by what he had done and found it hard to live with the shame.
Mitigating, Stuart Cowen described Walker as “the most unlikely bailiff”.
He said: “He robbed Peter to pay Paul. “He was taking money but it never went back to him.”
The Crown is seeking to confiscate some of Walker’s assets to recoup the loss.