Man jailed for handling stolen cheques
CHEQUES from a batch of stolen cheque books which went missing in the post were used to obtain cash and property worth £3,500 in various parts of the country, a court has heard. Fingerprints of repeat offender Andrew Papp were found on 21 of them, and led
CHEQUES from a batch of stolen cheque books which went missing in the post were used to obtain cash and property worth £3,500 in various parts of the country, a court has heard.
Fingerprints of repeat offender Andrew Papp were found on 21 of them, and led to him being jailed for 12 months on Tuesday.
Papp's explanation that his prints only got there when he flipped through the cheque books and had played no part in using them was rejected by a judge.
Judge John Bevan QC said at Luton Crown Court: "I regard that explanation as frankly absurd."
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Papp, 37, of Sturgeons Way, Hitchin, pleaded guilty to eight charges of handling stolen cheques.
Jamie de Burgos, prosecuting, said the spree of using cheques from cheque books that had not been delivered all took place in the spring of 2003 but Papp was not arrested until April this year.
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He made no comment in interview and refused to give a sample of his handwriting. He later told his probation officer that it was his partner who had used the cheques.
Leisha Whawell, defending, said Papp had a bad criminal record and had been addicted to Class A drugs. "But there comes a time when a man has to grow up and that time is now. He is trying to sort himself out, perhaps for the first time."
She said he was voluntarily attending drug and alcohol counselling, and was on a methadone reduction programme. She urged the court to give him a drug treatment sentence.
But Judge Bevan said: "Courts have given you chances in the past but you have breached them on many, many occasions.
"I am not impressed that you did not give a sample of your handwriting and regard your explanation for your fingerprints being found all over those cheques, frankly, as absurd.