Sunderland man swindled £5,000 so he could settle debts

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AN agency worker who obtained £5,000-worth of building supplies by using the credit accounts of his previous employers, has been spared jail.

Robert Blench ordered copper piping from Taps plumbing and heating services in Sunderland and The Plumb Centre in South Shields, Sunderland and Gateshead, using accounts held by building firms he had worked for through an agency.

He admitted fraud charges between September and November last year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 28-year-old former doorman came up with the scam to pay off cocaine debts.

Prosecutor Debbie Breen told the court: “He accepted he had gone to various branches of The Plumb Centre and got copper piping which he then sold for scrap.

“He did express remorse and said his actions were motivated by drug debts he had for cocaine.”

Gavin Doig, defending, said Blench, of Springwell Road, Sunderland, has never been in trouble before.

Judge Brian Forster sentenced Blench to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work and a 9pm to 7am curfew for two months. He warned Blench he would be jailed if he returned to court for another offence.