December 5 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 7, 2013
A formerly “well respected” sales director of a Norfolk glazing firm used materials from the business on a conservatory and utility room at his own home, a court has heard.
Nigel Betteridge, 50, of Wash Lane, Aslacton, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after previously admitting one count of theft and another of fraud by abuse of position.
The court heard Betteridge, who had worked at Long Stratton Glass and Windows for 24 years, benefited from a total of £17,800 as a result of the two offences which took place between June 2003 and the end of 2004 and May 2009 and August 2011.
Gerard Pounder, prosecuting, said Betteridge was in a position if trust at the company owned by Nicholas Jones. He said the first offence had taken place over a period of 18 months when it was discovered he had been “taking or ordering items through the company for his own use”.
He said the defendant was asked about it and admitted it but Mr Jones was prepared to “forgive him”.
Mr Jones later suffered from ill health and, after his condition worsened from 2007 onwards, the defendant was running the company.
Mr Pounder said between May 2009 and August 2011 Betteridge was found to be “back to his old tricks” and ordering materials to roof his conservatory and utility room. There was also some fencing as well.
The prosecutor said that at that time the company had to answer some financial questions after it was found they ere not making the sort of profit that they would have expected.
Betteridge again admitted his involvement after being spoken to after an employee suggested he might be involved. He was suspended before writing a letter of resignation which was accepted.
Police were informed at the beginning of February last year. When interviewed Betteridge said he had felt “undervalued” by the company but admitted it was “unacceptable”.
Katharine Moore, mitigating, said the case was a source of “shame” not just to the defendant, who has since started a new business and who was now “trying to do the right thing”. but also to his family, including wife and children, for whom this has been particularly difficult.
She said these matters aside Betteridge, who had raised money for a number of charities, was a “thoroughly decent man going over and above that which most people do in their everyday lives”.
Sentencing Betteridge to a total of 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, for both offences Judge Nicholas Coleman said: “You’ve admitted two offences of dishonesty and you’ve lost your good character.
“You may well have been a well respected member of the community before your pleas of guilty but you’re now nothing more than a fraudster in the eyes of the world.”
He was also ordered to undertake 250 hours unpaid work and pay £1200 prosecution costs as well as a surcharge which goes to help victims of crime.