A Royal British Legion treasurer who stole almost £7,000 from a Birmingham branch has avoided a jail sentence.
Judge Murray Creed told shamed Geoffrey Henrick: “You were in a position of trust. That makes this matter serious.”
Birmingham Crown Court heard Henrick siphoned off cash which should have boosted the Kings Heath branch’s coffers because his own finances were “out of control”.
He was rumbled when other branch officials grew suspicious about his failure to show them account statements and intercepted bank documents which revealed the scale of his crimes.
Henrick, 59, of Britford Close, Kings Heath, who had previously admitted charges of fraud and theft, was sentenced to 39 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to perform 240 hours’ unpaid work and pay £6,800 compensation.
The judge said he accepted Henrick had admitted his guilt immediately and he had not lived the high life on the back of the cash.
Zaheer Afzal, prosecuting, said Henrick’s duties involved banking money received by the club, which included fees from its 190 members and charitable donations.
The money, he said, was put in a safe and Henrick was responsible for paying it into the branch’s bank account.
Mr Afzal said Henrick refused to show other branch officials account statements as he needed the documents for his own records.
But their investigations later revealed he had written out four cheques to himself to the total of £6,800.
When quizzed, Henrick admitted he had used the cash for his own needs.
Nigel Stelling, defending, said Henrick’s finances had “got out of control”. He said Henrick, who was working, had intended to pay the money back with overtime payments but that had never materialised.
Mr Stelling said he was a man of previous good character who had done charity work before he fell victim to temptation.
“The loss of his good reputation is a matter of real regret and shame as far as he is concerned,” he said.