Former Thetford Players chairman jailed after taking £2,000 from runners signed up to endurance event

Robert Waple, ex-chairman of Thetford Players, has been sentenced after stealing from the group

Robert Waple, ex-chairman of Thetford Players, has been sentenced after stealing from the group - Credit: Archant

A man who stole more than £2,200 from people signed up to take part in an endurance race has been jailed for 56 days.

Robert Waple took the money from runners competing in a Gladi8or event at Thetford Forest between August 31, 2014 and February 9, 2015.

He committed the offence while on a suspended sentence for stealing £7,394 from the Thetford Players in 2013, while he was its chairman.

The 42-year-old, from Main Street in Hockwold, was described as having a 'dishonest streak' during his sentencing at Norwich Crown Court Yesterday.

It heard how Waple, who pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, had been responsible for collecting money from 88 people wanting to take part in the obstacle race last year.

But the father-of-one had then failed to pass on the funds to an Essex-based company, which was organising the event.

Prosecuting, Chris Youell said the defendant later made a confession on Facebook to taking the money after participants started asking questions.

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As part of a contractual agreement with the organisers, Waple's uncle ended up having to pay double the amount owed to cover him.

In a statement read out in court, one of the runners who helped collect the entry fees said he was 'mortified' to hear the money had not been paid to the organisers.

'I almost felt guilty by association and it affected my personal life,' he said.

Richard Wood, mitigating, said Waple had run into 'acute financial problems' at the time of the offence.

He explained the defendant had given up his job to care for his wife who has various 'debilitating conditions'.

Judge Katharine Moore said: 'This [crime] caused concern and upset from the runners as to whether they would have to pay again. They felt let down by you and some people felt guilty by association.'