A 76-year-old cocaine addict fraudulently took more than £4,000 worth of petrol on a company fuel card he kept after being dismissed from his lorry driver job, a court has heard.

Raymond Askew had been a driver for Norwich-based FreightForce Distribution Ltd but lost his job following a "disagreement" about a collision he had been in but failed to report.

Norwich Crown Court heard Askew, who had run up a debt from his cocaine habit, stopped driving in September 2021 but in January 2022 the haulage company received invoices for petrol bought on company fuel cards amounting to just over £4,000.

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich Crown CourtNorwich Crown Court (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)Philippa Page, prosecuting, said Askew, who still had a company fuel card after getting sacked, went on to make "several fraudulent transactions" with it.

The transactions, between December 18, 2021, and January 2, 2022, included one on Christmas Day when the vehicles were not in service.

In another transaction, at a garage in Swaffham, Askew filled his car as well as other containers with fuel from the petrol station.

He was also found to have bought other items, including cigarettes and alcohol as part of the transactions. 

Askew, of Sandy Lane, Dereham, appeared in court on Friday to be sentenced after admitting fraud.

Eastern Daily Press: Raymond Askew leaving Norwich Crown CourtRaymond Askew leaving Norwich Crown Court (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)Stephen Spence, for Askew, said it was unusual for someone his age to have committed the offence but said "temptation" had played a part.

He said Askew was not someone who had set out to commit crime but had a disagreement about being dismissed from his job, he felt unfairly.

Mr Spence said Askew, who has bowel cancer, should be given credit for his plea.

Recorder Nicola Fitches said Askew, who was addicted to crack cocaine and is still using the drug, had been "trusted" by the company but "stole from them on a repeated basis".

Askew was sentenced to 24 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation and undertake 12 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR).