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Middlesbrough man who worked for Redcar & Cleveland council faces jail over £720k mobile phone fraud
A COUNCIL worker is facing a prison sentence for an elaborate £720,000 fraud involving mobile phones.
Steven Topham ordered handsets then cancelled the requests almost immediately - but still received the goods.
Teesside Crown Court heard how the 36-year-old sold the phones to an unsuspecting dealer in the south of the country.
Topham was working for Redcar and Cleveland Council when he carried out the crime over a five-year period.
The court heard that part of his role at the council was to procure mobile phones through supplier Vodafone.
Between September 2007 and September 2012, Topham abused the position, he confessed today (Thursday, August 29).
He used a credit fund held by the council to obtain £720,617 worth of electrical items from Vodafone for himself.
His lawyer, Robert Mochrie, told the court that Topham made around £250,000 from the sale of the goods.
He is said to have spent the money on lighting equipment for an amateur theatre group, the court heard.
Topham, of Coronation Green, Middlesbrough, admitted fraud and an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
His case was adjourned for sentence by Judge Howard Crowson until next month so a background report can be prepared.