A WORKER has paid the price after finding out he could not have his cake and eat it.
After working for just one week at a Leamington cake company’s warehouse, Ryan Hiley simply stopped turning up – but continued claiming his wages.
And Warwick Crown Court heard the lax system at the warehouse enabled him to pick up pay packets for almost two years before he was caught.
The 29-year-old, of Bourton Drive, Whitnash, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to fraudulently obtaining a total of £33,500.
Prosecutor Alex Warren said Hiley was registered with the Staffline employment agency.
Through the agency he began working in the warehouse of the Senoble food company, formerly Elisabeth the Chef, on the Sydenham Industrial Estate in April 2012.
But at the end of April this year the company received an anonymous email which led to them carrying out an internal investigation into the hours worked and claimed by him.
CCTV record checks and speaking to other employees revealed he had not been working.
Mr Warren explained Hiley was one of a number of people employed to do the same work at the warehouse.
Each week he would contact the agency to tell them how many hours he had worked, and the agency then claimed that from Senoble, where it was ‘obvious the systems were slack.’
Over the two years Hiley had been paid £33,500 to which he was not entitled, but fees paid to the agency took Senoble’s loss up to a total of £45,000.
The court heard Hiley had previous convictions, and at the time his frauds began he was subject to a nine-month suspended prison sentence for wounding.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano made a ruling under the Proceeds of Crime Act that Hiley’s benefit was £33,500 and his only asset was the £760 value of his car.
He was ordered to pay that amount within three months or face a further 28 days in jail.
Nicholas Aldridge, defending, explained the arrangement was that each week Hiley would tell the agency the hours he had worked, and based on that they would submit an invoice to the company.
“In his first month he had one or two days off and saw that he still got a full pay packet.
“Unfortunately he took the decision, when he skipped work after a month, to continue telling the agency he had done a complete week, and he continued to get paid £350 to £380 a week.
“It’s surprising it took two years for anyone to realise he was not going in. When he was seen by the police he made full admissions.”
Over the two years he was also working as a mechanic at times, said Mr Aldridge, adding that Hiley, who has two children aged 11 and five, was simply using the money for his day-to-day living costs.