Ex-Ipswich Market supervisor Kevin Walker sobs after avoiding immediate jail term for stealing nearly £34k

Former Ipswich market supervisor Kevin Walker on Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Former Ipswich market supervisor Kevin Walker on Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

A former supervisor of Ipswich Market who stole nearly £34,000 given to him by stall holders for renting their pitches has walked free from court after a judge decided not to send him to prison.

Passing a suspended prison sentence on 52-year-old Kevin Walker, Recorder Richard Christie accepted he had been in genuine financial difficulties and told him: “You have had a very close shave.”

He warned Walker, who sobbed when he realised he wasn’t going straight to prison, that if he breached the terms of the suspended sentence order he could be jailed.

Walker, of Quantrill Terrace, Kesgrave, admitted theft by employee from Ipswich Borough Council between March 2015, and February 2016. The court heard that the total amount involved was £33,376.59 resulting from 91 thefts.

He was given an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to 250 hours unpaid work in the community.

He was also ordered to pay £14,000 compensation to Ipswich a Borough Council at the rate of £400 a month.

Warwick Tatford, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said Walker had been the supervisor at Ipswich Market on the town’s Cornhill between July 2013 and July 2016.

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Traders paid rent daily for the facilities and Walker was responsible for the general running of the market and the collection of rent for Ipswich Borough Council.

Any cash collected should have been banked the same day or as soon as practicable at the Lloyds branch on the Cornhill.

After it became clear that the money wasn’t making its way into the council’s bank account a number of payment slips and deposit bags were found in a locked filing cabinet with some of Walker’s possessions.

The total lost by the council was £14,314.50, as more than £19,000 was made in delayed payments.

When interviewed Walker, said he was in financial difficulties and was scared as he had borrowed money from a man who wanted it repaid.

Walker, who represented himself in court said he was in work and earned between £2,300 and £2,700 a month.

He said he had always intended to repay the money.

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