A MAN working in a position of trust for an Accrington bus company started pocketing fares on a regular basis.

Blackburn magistrates heard Paul Parry logged in to the computerised system as another driver and kept the fares taken in that name before logging in in his own name.

The owners of Pilkington Bus eventually uncovered the theft and discovered it had taken place 24 times over a 10-month period.

The biggest single daily theft was over £200 but over the course of his dishonesty Parry stole £1,816 which the court heard was used to fund his gambling habit.

Parry, 58, of Arundel Place, Preston, pleaded guilty to theft by employee. He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for two years with 300 hours' unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £1,816 compensation.

After the case, co-owner of Pilkington Bus Vicky Pilkington said: “It was very upsetting because we have got a really good team here.

“To know that someone we trusted and put in this position did that to us.

“It has put us in a position now where we probably won’t bring anybody else into the office or trust anyone in that position again.”

Pam Ward, prosecuting, said Adam Pilkington, the owner of the company, described Parry as “smart and organised” and he was promoted to the role of lead driver, responsible for organising all 25 drivers.

She described how Parry would log in to his ticket machine as another driver and pocket the fares taken in that name before logging in as himself.

When the theft was discovered he was suspended and the following day he resigned. “He was in a position of considerable trust and abused that trust,” said Mrs Ward. “There was also potential for other people to be blamed.”

Gareth Price, defending, said the offences were committed in 2019 because at the time his client had issues with gambling.

“He is now receiving help with that problem and is also getting help from the mental health services and support from his family,” said Mr Price.

He said Parry had been in the army for 30 years and had served in the Falklands and Afghanistan.

“The pre-sentence report shows an appropriate amount of shame on his part,” said Mr Price.