A car sales executive has been spared jail after he admitted diverting more than £11,000 of dealership sales proceeds into his personal bank account.
Honorary Recorder of Chester, Judge Steven Everett, described the crime of Colin Morris, of Woodbank Road, Whitby, as “mean an spiteful” but spared him custody due to the trauma and subsequent impact of his military service in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
The Chester Standard newspaper reported that the M53 Ford dealership in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, had suffered financial losses and a breakdown of trust with customers due to the actions of 29-year-old Morris.
Prosecuting, Jade Tufail said Morris was appointed by the dealership in November 2019, adding that there were no issues until Barclays Bank got in touch on March 6, 2020.
A bank teller had noticed a discrepancy in account details when Morris visited with two customers to pay deposits for cars.
Morris initially claimed he had accidentally given the bank his personal sort code instead of the dealership's.
Further investigation revealed that payments for two cars, collectively worth £11,287, had not been made into Morris's own account, however.
Morris claimed that he owed money to a loan shark and had, on a previous occasion, arrived late at the dealership with a cut to his stomach, claiming he had been threatened and stabbed.
Defending, Gareth Roberts said his client was "ashamed and embarrassed " by his actions but was glad he had been caught as it allowed him to start the process of rehabilitation, having been self-medicating with drink and cocaine.
Roberts explained that Morris’ life had “started to unravel” following the "horrors they experienced in Helmand Province 10 years ago", which included two close friends losing limbs in an explosion and a further incident which led Morris to be diagnosed with PTSD.
Roberts said there was a good prospect of rehabilitation, adding that his client was deserving of a chance.
Morris was handed a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He must also complete up to 35 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and 150 hours unpaid work.