AN INMATE of Leyhill Prison, who stole seven vehicles from his employers to help pay for his wedding, has profited by about £81,000 from his crimes, a court was told today.
Vincent Hawkins, a former vehicle workshop supervisor who is currently serving a two-year jail term in the open prison, now has realisable assets of only about £4,300 that can be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act, prosecutor Janine Wood told Gloucester crown court.
She said that once Hawkins is released from prison the Crown will seek a confiscation order in that amount and will ask that the money is paid as compensation to the losers, electrical firm Clarkson Evans.
Hawkins, of Kennett Gardens, Abbeymead, Gloucester, who was jailed for two years last September, turned up at the crown court under his own steam today, having been released on day leave from the prison.
Eyebrows were raised when he walked into the courtroom from the public corridor rather than being brought up from the cells where serving inmates are normally held after being transported in custody vans.
But it was later explained that an open prison inmate would be trusted to travel to court for a hearing and then go back to Leyhill afterwards.
Ms Wood told the court that prosecution and defence were close to agreeing the benefit and realisable assets figures for Hawkins but because he is still a serving prisoner he will not be in a position to get the £4,340 together within three months, the normal time limit once an order is made.
She had agreed with the defence to wait until after his release, she said.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC asked Hawkins when he was due for release and he said the earliest date would be September 15 although there 'promising' suggestions it may be earlier.
The judge therefore adjourned the proceeds of crime hearing until October 2.
"Where has all the money gone from selling those cars?" he queried.
Defence solicitor Nicola Colwill said "He had an expensive wedding for one thing."
The judge told Hawkins "You've had a hard lesson to learn, haven't you?"
"Yes definitely," said Hawkins.
In September the court heard Hawkins had 'overstretched' himself with the cost of the marriage and other expenses and that made him turn to crime after nearly a decade with his employers.
Hawkins admitted theft of seven of the company's vehicles between December 2013 and October 2015. He also admitted fraud against the company between October 2013 and July 2015 by abusing his position of trust to sell other vehicles and pocket part of the proceeds.
He was acting fleet manager at the time of the offences.