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Town Hall bathroom fraud: Convicted council official vows to break silence

Stuart Joblin's legal team told the court he was full of remorse

10 November, 2016 — By William McLennan

Stuart Joblin pleaded guilty in court but remains in an employment dispute with Camden Council

A SUPERVISOR at the Town Hall’s housing repairs department who admitted stealing bathroom fittings worth £12,500 walked free from court this week and vowed to tell “my side of events”.

Stuart Joblin, 33, admitted making fraudulent claims for showers and shower pumps which, instead of being installed in tenants’ homes, were used on private jobs.

He was handed a 12-month suspended sentence at Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday) and ordered to repay the money in full.

Mr Joblin, who is still locked in an employment dispute with Camden Council, told the New Journal last night: “I will be making a comment within the very near future [with] my side of events.”

Prosecutor Patricia Deighan told the court that, as a result of the fraud, there had been “significant reputational damage to the London Borough of Camden and significant cost to local taxpayers”.

She said that a council auditor, who led the investigation, had told police that it had “left a cloud” over the department and knocked the morale of other employees.

“He abused his position by requisitioning bathroom showers and power pumps from the stores of the London Borough of Camden, which were not subsequently used by him on his employer’s behalf,” she said.

Mr Joblin first joined the council as a plumber, but was promoted to a supervisor at which point he was able to “self-authorise” requisitions for material from council stores, the court heard.

Ms Deighan said: “The council became suspicious when they realised that he had requisitioned a much greater level of material than would be expected from someone at supervisor grade.”

When confronted over the suspicions, Mr Joblin had at first claimed he was ordering the bathroom parts before delivering them to plumbers working on council properties, the court heard.

But Ms Deighan said that, when a department manager visited the 29 homes for which suspicious requisitions had been made, “he found that no new showers had been installed at any of these addresses”.

The judge, Recorder Nicola Shannon, told Mr Joblin: “It cannot have escaped your attention that fraud by abuse of position is a very serious offence. It’s serious because it’s not only theft, but it’s cheating those that have given you that position of responsibility.”

She said she believed Mr Joblin had carried out the fraud because he was under the false impression that the council had vast resources and would not notice the missing parts. “The council only has money because it comes from ordinary members of the public who pay their council tax,” she added. “It was people like you who paid for your fraud.”

She said the “systematic, long-term fraud” had left others at the Town Hall under suspicion, adding: “It has hurt, as a result of that, your colleagues as well as yourself. You covered your fraud by claiming to be someone who was helping out the people below you.”

Mr Joblin’s defence counsel, Letitia Duffus, said: “He is devastated by his actions. He is ashamed by his behaviour. He wishes to express his remorse in relation to these offences.” She said he was willing to pay back the money in full, adding: “He wishes for that payment to be made in order to reflect his regret.”

Mr Joblin, who had pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on October 12, was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to pay £18,300 in compensation to the council and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.

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