Man admits �22k cigarette fraud

felixstowe: A man who used a cash and carry card belonging to his former employers to dishonestly obtain cigarettes worth more than �22,000 has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Michael Perkins had worked during the summer holidays last year at Park Holidays UK in Felixstowe which had an account with Bookers cash and carry in Ipswich.

After his employment ended, Perkins had kept hold of a Bookers’ cash and carry card and between December 8 last year and January 26 this year had used the card to dishonestly obtain cigarettes worth �22,693, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

In January, Perkins’ car was stopped by police as he left the cash and carry and cigarettes worth �3,613 were found in the vehicle, said Rebecca Wastall, prosecuting.

Perkins had admitted using the card to buy cigarettes and said that he had sold �48 cartons to friends for �20. He said he had spent the money on buying tools, speakers, amplifiers, mobile phones and going out.

Perkins, 20, of Chepstow Road, Felixstowe, admitted 11 offences of fraud and was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was ordered to do 300 hours’ unpaid work in the community and was given a three-month curfew between 9pm and 6am.

Sentencing him, Judge Karen Walden-Smith said: “You have come extremely close to losing your liberty.” She described what he had done as “stupid, foolish and immature”.

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Jude Durr, for Perkins, said his client acknowledged he had behaved in a “wholly reprehensible way”. He said his behaviour had been totally out of character. Mr Durr said the card came into Perkins’ possession while he was employed by Park Holidays. “He came into possession of it legitimately and kept it,” he said.

Perkins had initially been employed as a barman and had then been promoted to work in the kitchen.