A former employee of car park operator Meteor Parking has been given a 14-month prison sentence for stealing from pay & display machines while working as a cash collector.
Robert Prudham (also known as Robert Ring) was employed by Meteor to empty cash out of supposedly tamper-proof cashboxes from P&D machines. He stole £4,788 in coins and notes while emptying machines at car parks, many at train stations, across Kent and south-east London. He also took cash from parking machines at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.
The prosecutor said it was discovered that money could be stolen from the cashboxes with the tamper seal remaining in place. The money should have been transferred into cashboxes and then taken to a secure central location at Ashford Designer Outlet Centre.
Prudham began working for Meteor, owned by car park operator Indigo, in January 2014, having told recruitment company Red Eagle that he was of good character with no criminal convictions. In fact, Prudham had 18 previous convictions for 29 offences, including many for theft and dishonesty.
Prudham’s estranged wife Cheryl Anne Prudham was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years after admitting handling stolen goods, allegedly using the money to help pay for a holiday abroad. In total, she paid £7,671.96 in installments for the 14-night break on the Spanish island of Menorca.
Because of a restraining order against Prudham for harassment against his wife, she was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court, while her estranged husband was sentenced at Warrington Crown Court, in Cheshire, where he now lives with a new partner.
Prudham’s work colleague at Meteor Parking, Jacob Underdown, was cleared of three counts of theft and told the court that he “didn’t have a clue” how Prudham was able to steal the money.
Jailing Prudham, Judge Adele Williams said his response to previous court orders had been “abysmal” and he had failed to take advantage of opportunities offered by the probation service.
“You obtained this employment by fraud, you failed to reveal your previous convictions for dishonesty, and obtained a job collecting money by fraudulent means. You then committed the theft offences, which was a significant breach of trust. This was quite deliberate dishonesty.”
He was jailed for a total of nine months on each of the theft charges and five months’ consecutive for fraud.
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