Cheque fraudster brought to book

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A FRAUDSTER who cashed a stolen cheque worth £3,800 belonging to his trusting ex-employer has narrowly escaped being put behind bars.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Monday how Brett James Bryan, 25, of Hurst Rise, Matlock, had been gardening for a retired doctor who discovered a cheque missing from his home and that it had been cashed by Bryan.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Mahon said: “The complainant became aware the cheque had been removed in March last year and he made enquiries and found a cheque for £3,800 had been cashed to Bryan. A neighbour also confirmed Bryan had done work for him and was aware Bryan had been looking to buy a motor vehicle.”

Police discovered a VW Polo at Bryan’s home and he was identified as the person who had signed for the vehicle and officers obtained CCTV footage from the bank where Bryan had deposited and later cashed the cheque.

Defence solicitor Steve Brint said Bryan has previous offending mainly concerning assaults but he had been out of trouble for a while. He claimed a third party took the cheque but the third party did not have a bank account. Bryan - currently serving a suspended custodial sentence for another offence - pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and fraud and was given 16 weeks custody suspended for 12 months, 150 hours unpaid work and was ordered to pay £85 costs.