Ipswich market manager admits stealing £33,000 in rent for pitches on Cornhill

Ipswich market manager Kevin Walker on Ipswich Cornhill

Ipswich market manager Kevin Walker on Ipswich Cornhill - Credit: Archant

A debt-ridden former supervisor of Ipswich Market has admitted stealing nearly £34,000 given to him by stall holders for renting their pitches.

Kevin Walker, of Quantrill Terrace, Kesgrave, pleaded guilty to theft by employee from Ipswich Borough Council when he appeared before the town’s magistrates.

The total amount of cash stolen by the 52-year-old between March 30, 2015, and February 19, 2016, was £33,376.59.

Ian Persaud, representing Walker - who broke down in tears during the hearing - said: “The motivation for this has never been to deprive the council of its just rewards through the rent paid.

“It was to help Mr Walker through difficult financial times and he always intended to repay the money.

“It over-reached him and as you can see he’s bitterly sorry for what he did. He is very remorseful and wished he could turn the clock back.”

Previously James Jackson, prosecuting, told the court 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. 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.

On May 12, 2015 Walker had collected a total of £1,413. Documentation was presented to staff as proof by Walker that it had been banked.

However, the amount did not appear to be received, although the council was reimbursed.

A further investigation revealed more amounts of money were missing.

A number of original banking documents completed by the defendant relating missing cash transactions were found at a council-owned store. A majority were found in a locked filing cabinet.

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

When interviewed Walker said: “It seems like I’m bang to rights anyway.”

He added he was in financial difficulties and was scared as he had borrowed money from a man who wanted it back.

Walker was sent to crown court for sentencing on a date to be fixed.