Prison officer conned county jail out of £5,200 with bogus expenses due to 'controlling' ex

A prison officer conned more than £5,200 out of a county jail with fraudulent expenses claims due to a "controlling" ex's financial demands, a court heard.

 Stoke Heath Prison
Stoke Heath Prison

For nearly four years, Adam Barlow scammed his employer HMP Stoke Heath out of cash, lining his pockets with claims of around £500 a time for car journeys and other costs.

The reason put forward in mitigation for Barlow at his Shrewsbury Crown Court sentencing was that he was in a "controlling" relationship at the time.

Fortunately for Barlow, he will not be returning to prison for the wrong reasons, as Recorder Anthony Warner handed him a suspended jail sentence and a curfew.

The court heard that the prison system runs deep in Barlow's family. His grandfather worked as a prison officer for more than 40 years, and his father still works in the system, having joined in 1987.

Prosecutor Tariq Shakoor told the court that Barlow, 31, started working as a prison officer in 2011, and his offending first came to light in 2018, when his new line manager was concerned by his expenses claims. The court heard claims of around £500 would be put through unchecked, with workers receiving the cash within 48 hours.

Mr Shakoor said that when Barlow was questioned by prison staff about the claims he told them he "had a habit" of saving up claims "for a rainy day", and although he accepted some were wrong, denied submitting them dishonestly. The total amount he defrauded the prison out of was £5,251.46.

The prison's governor, Mr Shakoor said, referred to the reputational damage the system would face, saying it would be "tarnished by this type of criminality by staff".

Barlow, of Crowmere Road, Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud.

Rob Edwards, defending, said that Barlow's children and new partner would suffer if he was jailed.

Recorder Warner sentenced Barlow to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years. Barlow was also given a three-month curfew between 10pm and 6am.

"Your two children and your partner are innocent of this, but would be significantly impacted, should you go to prison."

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