Whitehaven St Benedict's school manager stole toner worth £100,000

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image captionWayne Collins was addicted to gambling, the court heard

A school manager and governor stole more than £100,000 of printer toner from his employers to sell online.

Wayne Collins, of Blake Close in Whitehaven, was addicted to gambling while he worked at St Benedict's High School, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The school's business director, Mary Lowrey, said Collins had "abused the position of trust he has been in".

But, because of his previous good character, his a two-year jail term was suspended for two years.

The court heard Collins, 34, had been a "well liked and trusted" member of the senior staffing team and a governor for four years.

As operations manager he had been responsible for ordering school supplies, but staff had "complained bitterly" over the years about the lack of toner.

"He has stolen from the school and from the hard-working children that attend," Ms Lowrey said.

Gambling 'consumed him'

Cumbria Police were alerted to Collins' theft by their Devon and Cornwall counterparts, who found out through another investigation that Collins had been receiving large amounts of money by selling toner online.

The precise value of the stolen toner was unknown but Collins had made £117,994 by selling it between January 2013 and February 2019, the court heard.

He initially denied the theft but subsequently confessed and has since repaid £35,000.

"He explained that he had a gambling addiction which had consumed him," prosecutor Alaric Walmsley told the court.

Collins was remorseful and "bitterly" regretted the theft, the court heard.

The judge Recorder Eric Lamb, who heard Collins had a previously good character, a wife and a young child, concluded there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

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