Council credit card used to buy porn

NDET 9-6-12 BWJ 42 Court Case Roy Hunt
NDET 9-6-12 BWJ 42 Court Case Roy Hunt
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A TOWN clerk downloaded pornography and used a council credit card to pay for it has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Roy Hunt, of Alexandra Road, Swallownest, used a card belonging to Dronfield Town Council to buy porn, petrol and electrical equipment and falsified the accounts.

The former clerk was sacked after his 17-month trail of dishonesty was discovered, Chesterfield Magistrates Court was told.

Hunt, 70, denied 11 charges of theft and fraud but was convicted after a trial.

His crimes were discovered when he went on holiday and colleagues discovered a credit card statement.

He spent £349 and £401 on laptops – but stated the money had been spent on fencing and tools, and purchased over £50 worth of petrol which he entered as ‘Sainsbury’s Gifts’ in the council’s accounts.

Deputy District Judge Lawrence imposed a total of one year’s custody but he suspended it for two years.

He said he would have imposed an immediate term of imprisonment but for Hunt’s health problems, which included lung disease.

Mike Treharne, prosecuting, said Hunt had falsified accounts by disguising purchases in the council records.

“He entered festive lighting in the records while paying to go online to a gay pornsite. He did downloads from the PlayStation website and purchased two laptops, entering them as fine mesh metals and an item from Screwfix Direct,” said Mr Treharne.

“These were false entries in the account book in his own handwriting.”

“He suggested it happened because of incompetence but he was found guilty on the basis of dishonesty.”

The trial heard that when interviewed by police, Hunt, who was paid around £40,000 a year by the council, felt he was underpaid.

The offences - committed between March 2009 and August 2010 - came to light after items on a credit card statement found among planning documents aroused the suspicions of colleagues. He was on holiday at the time.

Hunt was ordered to pay £750 compensation to the council, with £960 trial costs. He also received a 7pm-7am curfew for six months.

The trial was told that he had already repaid the council £616.

Hunt claimed the laptops, together costing £750, were purchased for work use and denied accessing porn websites, claiming the credit card must have been cloned.