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Franchised dealer group ‘betrayed’ by thieving car salesman

Beechdale Motor Group bosses felt “betrayed” by a car salesman who stole almost £6,000 in customer deposits after they set aside similar offences at another franchised group to give him “a second chance”.

Derby Crown Court heard how 50-year-old Anthony Meadowcroft had driven customers to cash machines to personally receive deposits for vehicles in an effort to avoid detection within months of gaining employment with the Derby-based business.

The Derby Telegraph reported this week that Meadowcroft, of Atlow Road, Chaddesden, was handed a six month jail sentence by Judge Jonathan Bennett at a hearing which came four years after the car salesman was handed a suspended sentence for taking more than £10,000 from previous employer Stratstone BMW, in Sir Frank Whittle Road, Derby, which is part of Pendragon.

Judge Jonathan Bennett said: “By early 2015 you were back working in the motor trade.

“Then, by November 2016 you were up to your old tricks again.”

The Telegraph reported that Edna Leonard, prosecuting, said Beechdale became suspicious that money was missing when they found £200 missing and paperwork altered from a transaction in February 2017.

She said a number of customers then told the company they had all paid him cash deposits when contacted.

When police visited Meadowcroft he admitted what he had done, Leonard said, telling officers he had stolen £5,780 from Beechdale.

He pleaded guilty to one count of theft from his employer.

Helen Marley, mitigating, said her client had used the cash to pay for non-prescription drugs he was taking to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from an attack in 2011.

Speaking to The Derby Telegraph after sentencing, director Gary Siddall said: "Whilst Beechdale Motor Group were fully aware of Mr Meadowcroft's history we strongly believe in giving everyone a second chance and he assured us that all of his problems were in the past.

"Upon the discovery of his theft we immediately informed the police.

"We strongly condemn Mr Meadowcroft's actions and the impact it has had on our valued customers and are deeply saddened that he chose to betray our trust in him."

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