A GAMBLING addict who used a company fuel card to buy more than £10,000 worth of food, drink and scratchcards has been jailed for 21 months.
Shawn Michael Weller (35) used the card, which was meant to pay for petrol, oil or windscreen wiper fluid, to fund hundreds of other transactions worth a total of £10,757, the Royal Court heard yesterday.
He was also found to have a very small amount of cannabis in his home.
Outlining the case, Crown Advocate Lauren Hallam, prosecuting, said that Weller had worked as a driver for Starlight Construction since 2020 and was provided with a card to use at petrol stations to pay for a company vehicle’s running costs.
But between March and June last year he used the card to buy hundreds of scratchcards, as well as food and drink.
The offences came to light when his employer received the receipts for the period.
Weller pleaded guilty to obtaining goods by false pretences and possession of a controlled drug.
Calling for a two-year jail term, Crown Advocate Hallam said: ‘There are no exceptional features to allow the court to depart from its strict sentencing guidelines.’
Advocate Francesca Pinel, defending, argued for a shorter sentence.
She said: ‘The offences were over a relatively short space of time. He has no similar previous convictions, and his last conviction was in 2015.
‘He has expressed his remorse. He accepts that it was a serious breach of trust. He is ashamed of himself.’
She also said there had been a lengthy delay in bringing the case to court and that Weller had not been given enough credit by the prosecution for his guilty plea, so suggested a sentence of 18 months.
Lieutenant-Bailiff Anthony Olsen said that such offences always resulted in prison unless there were exceptional circumstances.
He said that the court recognised that background reports had highlighted Weller’s ‘tragic childhood difficulties’ and mental-health problems, but told him: ‘A custodial sentence is inevitable in this case.
‘We note that you have an unenviable record, but also that this is your first appearance before the court for an offence involving dishonesty.’
The Lieutenant-Bailiff added: ‘You are still quite a young man, you have shown that you can hold down a perfectly good job and you seem to be confronting your demons, and we applaud you for that.
‘We certainly hope we will never see you before us again.’
Jurats Elizabeth Dulake and Andrew Cornish were sitting.