Volunteer stole £5,000 from Hartlepool credit union – to spend on computer games and takeaways

Aaron Relton.
Aaron Relton.

A trusted volunteer stole more than £5,000 from a credit union to spend on computer gaming and takeaways.

Aaron Relton used his computer skills to transfer the union’s money into his own card account, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

Hartlepool Credit Union Limited Avenue Road . Picture by Frank Reid

Hartlepool Credit Union Limited Avenue Road . Picture by Frank Reid

“He did four weeks of paid employment with the Hartlepool Credit Union,” said Sarah Traynor, prosecuting. “Thereafter he worked there as a volunteer, becoming a trusted member of the team.

“Relton stole by transferring credit union account money electronically into his own account.

“He did this by making many small transactions over a period of a few months.

“When interviewed by police, he said he had spent the money on computer games, takeaways, and paying board to his mother.

“A gaming computer valued at £800 was found in his bedroom.”

Relton, 26, of Grange Road, Hartlepool, admitted theft between January and September, this year.

He had no previous convictions.

The court heard Relton studied information technology at college, and previously worked for the Hartlepool Mail and Marks and Spencer.

Shiela Ramshaw, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Relton was not in paid work at the time of the thefts.

“He was concerned his benefits were going to be sanctioned which could have meant no money for up to a year.

“While he did spend some of the money on computer gaming, he was also keen to keep paying his mother for his board, but didn’t want to tell her about his benefits problem. Mr Relton is man who has lost his good character, and he knows that will make it harder for him to find employment in future.”

“He is sorry for what he did, and wants to repay the stolen money.”

The magistrates sentenced Relton to 200 hours of community work, and ordered him to pay £3,000 compensation to Hartlepool Credit Union at £20 per week.