A manager for Network Rail who falsely claimed almost £11,000 in overtime to feed a gambling habit has been given a suspended prison sentence.
David Jones pretended he had clocked up 875 hours of extra work in the course of a year which meant he was the highest paid member of staff for Network Rail at New Street Station in Birmingham.
Jones, 32, of Arleston Avenue, Wellington, Telford, who had previously admitted a charge of making a false representation, was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
The court heard how Jones was a gambling addict who went out every hour to place bets.
Recorder James Burbidge QC said it had been a serious breach of trust but accepted he had made a full and frank admission to the police.
Shenez Muzaffer, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said between November 2007 and June 2009, Jones was employed by Network Rail as a resource supervisor.
She said he had a number of responsibilities which included managing time sheets of other employees, annual leave and planning of rotas.
“He was able to authorise time sheets for other members of staff but he was not able to authorise his own time sheets. That was done by a manager senior to him,” she said.
Miss Muzaffer said Jones was paid for 37 hours a week with the option of “occasional” overtime and that his wage was £23,591.
She said a budget was carried out at the end of 2008 running into 2009 and went on: “That established that the defendant was the highest paid member of staff out of all the staff for Network Rail who worked at Birmingham New Street Station including managers senior to him.”
She said when his time sheets were checked it revealed that over a year he had claimed 875 hours’ overtime and that the total claim was £10,728.
Miss Muzaffer said it was discovered Jones had been carrying out a fiddle by submitting his time sheets to a senior manager before retrieving them and altering them and then submitting them to the payroll department.
Michael Challinor, defending, said it had been an unsophisticated deception and that when an audit was carried out Jones’ claims “stood out like a sore thumb”.
He said the bogus claims were for hours during the week when Jones was only entitled to do extra work on a Sunday.
Mr Challinor added that Jones had suffered from a gambling addiction since he was a teenager and that he had been popping out every hour or so during the working day to place a bet at the bookies.