York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire Police accountant admits £44k theft

Andrew Smart Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Andrew Smart, 35, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by employee at Teesside Crown Court

A police accountant has admitted stealing more than £44,000 from the Police Sports Fund UK to fund his gambling habit.

Andrew Smart, 35, a senior accounting administrator at North Yorkshire Police, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft by employee on Tuesday.

Teesside Crown Court heard he stole the money while acting as treasurer of the fund.

Smart, of Stockton-on-Tees, was given at 12-month suspended prison sentence.

The court heard that between July 2016 and August 2017 he wrote himself 67 cheques to the value of £44,082.

The police fund helps organise sporting activities for more than 300,000 members across the country.

The North Yorkshire branch has about 500 members who each pay a monthly subscription fee.

Branch chairman Richard Flint said: "We lost a significant amount of our savings as a result of this crime, although some of that has been paid back.

"Since then we have changed our financial procedures so nothing like this can happen again."

Thomas Neofytou, from the Crown Prosecution Service, added: "Smart committed a fundamental breach of the trust placed in him as a police employee.

"He stole a substantial sum of money from the police sports fund in order to sustain his gambling habit.

"The sentence he has received today underlines the fact that no-one is above the law."

Smart's 12-month jail sentence has been suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites