A DARWEN-based TV licence detector pocketed cash given to him by householders for licence fee payments.

Kevin Hamilton, 43, admitted a £3,000 fraud by abuse of position at Manchester Crown Court.

Hamilton was employed from spring 2007 by Capita which is contracted by TV Licensing to supply inqu-iries officers.

But when he stopped putting through cash payments to his office in Darwen in June 2008, conc-erns were raised.

After a complaint in October 2008 from a householder who hadn’t received his licence, management tried to inspect his receipt books.

But he claimed he had been robbed to avoid handing over paperwork.

A spokesman for Capita said: “We had already identified this inquiry officer’s pattern of behaviour as atypical and investigated further.

"We reported the fraud to police and co-operated fully in their subsequent inquiry.”

In addition, it emerged Hamilton was banned from driving, but had not told his bosses.

The Capita spokesman added: “Mr Hamilton was not a detector van driver and did not have access to a detector van.

"As far as we are aware, he visited the homes of licence payers using public transport or his own vehicle.

“For officers who use their own, or company, vehicles to travel to work we carry out annual and occasional spot checks of driving licences and insurance.

Hamilton, of Bayswater Avenue, Newton Heath, was sentenced to 51 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, plus 200 hours unpaid work.

He must repay £1,500 of the debt at a rate of £50 a month.