Former lottery winner avoids prison after stealing £15,000 worth of trainers from FootAsylum

David Swatman won £100,000 on a lottery scratchcard in 2018. Credit: MEN Media

A lottery winner who won £100,000 has avoided going to prison after stealing £15,000 worth in trainers while working as a delivery driver.

David Swatman, 43, from Manchester won the amount on a scratchcard in 2018 and said he would use the money to follow Liverpool FC.

However, just two years later he repeatedly stole boxes of shoes while transporting goods between north Wales and Manchester for shoe retailer FootAsylum.

He admitted a single charge of theft covering a period between August and September 2020.

Swatman was handed a 20-month jail sentence suspended for two years at Manchester Crown Court.

Prosecutor, David Lister, told Manchester Crown Court the charge covered a series of thefts when Swatman swiped boxes of trainers from his vehicle, and handed them to a third party during delivery runs from the company's depot in Broughton, north Wales, to its base in Manchester.

FootAsylum launched an investigation when it discovered, on 9 September 2020, there was a discrepancy in the number of boxes that were leaving the Broughton depot and the number arriving in Manchester.

Five boxes and two bags full of trainers never arrived, and a review of CCTV revealed there had been an 'unauthorised stop' on Bury Old Road while Swatman was at the wheel when the items were transferred into another vehicle, said Mr Lister.

The company's investigation uncovered further 'unauthorised stops' on 22 August and 2 September when more boxes were handed over and placed in another vehicle.

Police arrested him and, when the defendant was interviewed, he admitted the thefts and estimated he had stolen about 22 boxes, each one containing trainers worth up to £1,000.

The court heard the defendant had memorised an 'encryption lock' on the vehicles to carry out his crimes.

Swatman, now of Richmond Street in Keighley, Bradford, admitted a single charge of theft covering stolen items worth £15,450.

David Swatman celebrating his £100,000 lottery win in 2018. Credit: MEN Media

The court was told Swatman had 22 sets of previous convictions covering 44 offences, including a drink drive offence said to have been committed shortly after the FootAsylum thefts.

Max Saffman, defending, said his client was now working part-time as a window fitter earning about £300 per week, although he hoped to be working full time soon.

He pointed to his client's admission of guilt from the moment he was arrested.

The judge, His Honour Judge Field KC, expressed astonishment that it had taken more than two years to bring the case to court when the defendant had admitted his crime at the outset.

He said the delay had been 'extraordinary' and meant the defendant had been living with the threat of jail throughout his wait to be sentenced.

Judge Field said: "It wasn't just one theft. It was a series of thefts that occurred as long ago as the late summer of 2020 when you were working as a delivery driver for FootAsylum.

"You used your privileged position to steal goods from your delivery vehicle for the benefit of others... It was a breach of the trust placed in you by your employers."

The judge said there had been a 'degree of sophistication' although the defendant had not acted alone. The goods had 'plainly been stolen to order'.

But Judge Field said the defendant had shown 'genuine remorse' and had made 'frank admissions as soon as you were confronted'.

He said Swatman had 'taken steps to address the problems that may have led you to make the very bad decision to steal from your employer'.

After winning, Swatman promised to use the money to continue to follow Liverpool FC. Credit: MEN Media

The judge went on: "I have formed the strong view by what you have achieved over the last two-and-a-half years that there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in your case."

Swatman was handed a 20-month jail sentence suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out five days of rehabilitation activity, to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £425 prosecution costs.

In 2018, it was widely reported that Swatman won £100,000 on a scratchcard and that he planned to use the money to follow his football team, Liverpool.

He said at the time: "I’ve followed Liverpool all my life but because of my job, I often have to work weekends and can’t see them play as often as I would like to. Thanks to this win, I can treat not only myself but my friends as well.

"Who knows, I could even get tickets to the Champions League final in Kiev if Liverpool make it there!"

Swatman declined to comment after his sentencing.

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