A WAR veteran was spared jail by the skin of his teeth after stealing £12,537 from the fishing club where he was treasurer.

Wayne Adams splashed the cash on dating websites, shopping and jewellery from Samuels after splitting from his wife after swindling Aldershot Garrison Angling Club.

The 44-year-old war veteran, who completed tours of Iraq and Afghanistan during his 25 years in the Irish Guards, took the money between September 2016 and February this year.

When club chairman David Ashburner contacted him for a statement of expenditure ahead of its Annual General Meeting, Adams tried to get out of providing one before confessing to his theft by text, Winchester Crown Court heard.

In a statement provided by David, it was also revealed Adams had failed to renew the club’s insurance policy, which would have covered the stolen money.

Fishing club hit by cash loss

The chairman said: “This has caused very serious detrimental effect to Aldershot Garrison AC, which is a community club.

“The money stolen was subscription money collected from the members and was going to be used to purchase new fish stock.

“We have now been unable to do this, which has lowered the enjoyment of our members.

“We have had to put in place an eight per cent increase in fees to try to recoup the money.”

Adams, of Aldershot, who has already paid back almost £2,000 to the club, admitted one count of fraud by abuse of position.

Ordered to pay back £250 a month

Judge Jane Miller sentenced Adams to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years. Adams was also instructed to pay back £250 a month until the money is repaid.

She said: “I am sentencing you to 12 months’ custody time, but you will be pleased to know that this will be suspended.

“I will suspend this for two years as I feel you need to have this hanging over your head for as long as possible.

“You must also pay back the full money taken, which I know you will want to do as a point of honour.

“If you fail to make any payments, know that the angling club are likely to take civil action against you. The most sensible option is to make sure you complete the payments.”

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