Employee with £100 a day ketamine habit stole tens of thousands of pounds from firm

The gas engineer stole tools, ran up huge bills and eventually had to have his gall bladder removed due his drug habit.

A gas engineer with a £100 a day drugs habit stole more than £3,500 worth of his employers tools and ran up a £12,500 bill on their fuel card.

A judge said that Joseph Clark had been “clearly filling up other peoples’ cars.”

His dishonesty came to light after the 27-year-old stopped turning up at work for Flogas on the Knowsley Business Park after October 29 last year.

“When contacted he explained he was not in a good place and was unable to attend work and despite encouragement on Tuesday January 4 this year he verbally notified them that he would not be returning to work,” said Ed Rattigan, prosecuting.

Joseph Clark, of School Way, Speke, pleaded guilty to theft by employee and fraud.

“His boss was asked to investigate and ultimately went to his address to recover items. Clark was under the influence of drink and stated that the tools and laptop were at his parents’ address.”

Mr Rattigan said that investigations showed a lot of transactions on the fuel card amounting to £12,500, some made after he had stopped working.

He told Liverpool Magistrates’ Court that the fuel bill totalled £12,498 and the the tools, which have not been returned, were worth £3,581,

Clark, of School Way, Speke, pleaded guilty to theft by employee and fraud.

Jim Smith, defending, said that at the time Clark had “a substantial dependency” and was using £100 worth of ketamine a day.

He has child maintenance payments to make and taking drugs was stretching his resources, said Mr Smith.

“He now has a new job as a mechanical engineer so can contribute to his daughter and to the loss of his previous employer.”

Sentencing Clark to a suspended prison sentence District Judge Wendy Lloyd told him, “You got yourself in such a bad state and needed to have your gall bladder removed because of the damage you caused yourself with drink and drugs.”

She said she accepted he was under pressure having got drugs “on tick” but she pointed out, “that is due to your own actions, no-one forced you.

“Previously you had a perfectly decent life and employment and a good education,” she added.

Judge Lloyd sentenced him to six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and 15 days rehabilitation activities.

She said she was told he may be earning £45,000 a year in the near future and ordered him to pay £4,000 compensation. “I feel sorry for the firm that trusted you and you abused that trust.”