The director of a lettings agency who who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend on holidays and other luxuries has avoided a prison sentence.
The Bournemouth Echo reports that Clifford Wheatcroft, the former owner and director of Real-Est8 Property Solutions, used the cash to fund a "lavish lifestyle".
He has been sentenced to 17 months in prison but this has been suspended for two years.
The Bournemouth agency was launched in 2009 but by late 2013 Wheatcroft was declared bankrupt and it had been discovered that he had not placed the tenants' deposits in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Wheatcroft eventually told police that he had been in financial difficulties since 2012; after that, he began to use the deposits and rents to keep up with other payments.
“Financial enquiries showed Wheatcroft spent a considerable amount of money from the company account on personal items including holidays, leisure activities, shopping and meals out to the tune of £357,260.08p” the newspaper reports.
In late 2013 the agency ceased trading leaving tenants, landlords and maintenance staff out of pocket.
In addition to his suspended sentence, Wheatcroft must also carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.
You can see the local newspaper story here.