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Council tech boss defrauded Vodafone

A Redcar and Cleveland Council IT boss who defrauded Vodafone out of £724,000 and used the money to buy a hot tub and a caravan has been jailed for three years.

Steven Topham, 36, manipulated the company's credit system to order 1,700 handsets - most of which were then sold on.

Topham, from Coronation Green, Park End, Middlesbrough, could not tell police how many phones he had sold or how much he had made.

He told police he had bought a hot tub, sauna, holiday caravan, electrical goods and paid off his substantial debts.

Judge Howard Crowson said Topham, who pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and converting criminal property at an earlier hearing, was guilty of a breach of trust.

"You set out on what was clearly a professional fraud," he said.

A proceeds of crime hearing will take place next year.