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Southwold garage thief jailed

06:30 31 August 2011

Karl Lawson has been jailed for stealing £3,460 from Southwold Town Garage. He is pictured here working on a charity sleigh at the garage last year.

Karl Lawson has been jailed for stealing £3,460 from Southwold Town Garage. He is pictured here working on a charity sleigh at the garage last year.

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A worker at a garage in Southwold, who totally abused his employees’ trust by stealing £3,460, was jailed for 12 weeks yesterday.

Karl Lawson took the money from the Southwold Town Garage, in Station Road, even though its owners Chris and Kerry Wilmot had helped to give him a roof over his head and get him a car.

Lawson, 21, was jailed after he had earlier admitted the theft in which he used a garage debit card to take money for himself between July 4 and July 12.

Yesterday, Judge David Cooper jailed Lawson and criticised him for his “dismal behaviour” and his “mean spirited swindle”, which was said to have destroyed the Wilmots’ faith in human nature.

Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court heard the Wilmots had taken Lawson under their wing to help him achieve an ambition of becoming an MOT tester.

To help Lawson, the Wilmots had stood as guarantors so he could get a cottage in Reydon and helped him to get a car.

Lawson was sacked after his crime was discovered and the Wilmots had withheld £860 of his wages to try to claw back some of the money he had stolen from them.

In a letter read out by Judge Cooper, the Wilmots were said to be “very, very hurt” and upset by Lawson’s actions.

The letter also said: “We are devastated he has abused our trust.”

The court heard Lawson, who now lives in Great Yarmouth’s East Road, had taken the money to fund his drug habit.

He also had no previous convictions.

Wayne Clarke, mitigating, said: “He has let himself down completely. He is thoroughly ashamed of his actions. It is his first conviction.”

As well as his 12-week prison sentence, Lawson was ordered to pay £2,600 compensation to the Wilmots and was banned from having any contact with the couple he had abused the trust of.

Judge Cooper, sentencing Lawson, said: “It was a clear breach of trust. They had given him a career opportunity.

“This was dismal, really dismal behaviour. It was a terrible way to treat people who went out of their way to help him.

“They gave him a car, guaranteed his rent.

“It was a miserable swindle. It was mean-spirited swindle that was perpetrated on the Wilmots and you have gone a long way to destroy their faith in human nature by showing a lack of it.

“They are devastated by what you have done to them.”

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