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Ipswich: Olympic torch bearer was forced to sell his treasured souvenir and stole from Suffolk Libraries to pay off mum’s debts

PUBLISHED: 10:49 31 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:49 31 January 2014

Ryan Jay

Ryan Jay

An Olympic Torch bearer was forced to sell the treasured souvenir to help pay off his mum’s debts to a loan shark, a court has heard.

Youth worker Ryan Jay, 20, was put under pressure by the unscrupulous debt collector to repay money borrowed by his mother and in addition to selling his Olympic Torch he also stole £12,000 while working for Suffolk’s library service in Ipswich.

Last year Jay, who co-founded Ipswich youth group Club 4 Teenz, won a Stars of Suffolk award for the group’s work in helping disadvantaged children but yesterday he sat in the dock at Ipswich Crown Court in tears as he was sentenced for 10 offences of theft and six of fraud.

The court heard that Jay had no previous convictions and prior to the offences he had been “respected and trusted” by his work colleagues.

Godfried Duah, prosecuting, said Jay had been a volunteer at Gainsborough Library from the age of 14 and had helped to set up Club 4 Teenz.

Prior to the thefts he was given paid work at the Gainsborough library and the Northgate Street library in the town centre 
and between September 
2012 and June 2013 he had stolen cash and cheques.

Sentencing Jay, of Cotman Road, Ipswich to a two-year community order and ordering him to do 200 hours unpaid work in the community Judge David Goodin said he had “narrowly” come to the conclusion that the offences did not cross the custody threshold.

He said Jay had fallen into the hands of a loan shark in an effort to help his mother. “It is highly likely this was the spur for your descent into dishonesty,” said the judge.

“Once upon a time you were looked up to by the youngsters you helped and by the people you were working for, but you were stealing from them to quite a significant degree. You are 20 and it may be that some day you will be somebody to whom youngsters can look up to again,” he added.

Judge Goodin said the activities of the loan shark were being investigated by the authorities.

As part of the community order Jay will have to attend a Thinking Skills Programme and be supervised by the probation service for two years.

Earlier this month Jay’s 46-year-old mother Lorraine Jay, also of Cotman Road, admitted defrauding Suffolk’s library service of £675 to repay a debt to the loan shark.

She pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation between April 14 and April 19 last year and was given an 18 month community order.

The court heard she cashed a cheque for £675 at the Money Shop so her son could repay a loan shark on her behalf.

Craig Marchant for Ryan Jay described the case as “disturbing” and said his client’s motivation for stealing money was to pay a loan shark who had charged “exorbitant” rates of interest.

He said Jay had become caught up in a “vicious circle” and had borrowed more money from the loan shark to cover up the thefts, to provide for his family and to keep youth club he was running going.

“He is full of shame and his remorse is genuine,” said Mr Marchant.

He said Jay had paid an estimated £60,000 to the loan shark and had sold his Olympic Torch to help settle the debt. “It had sentimental value to him.” said Mr Marchant.

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