Pensioner jailed for taking bowls league money

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case

A pensioner who stole more than £2,000 after becoming the treasurer of a bowling league has been jailed for four months.

Michael Bowerman, 70, had three previous convictions for 31 offences of theft, fraud and false accounting and had served two previous prison sentences, a court heard.

He stole £2,365 from the Lincoln and District Bowling League after becoming treasurer when his predecessor fell ill.

Other members became suspicious when Bowerman twice cancelled the annual general meeting and refused to hand over the league’s Nationwide passbook for an audit.

Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, said Bowerman was confronted when inquiries with the building society highlighted the discrepancies. Bowerman agreed to pay the money back but gave them two cheques which bounced.

Lincoln Crown Court was told that Bowerman, who had previously served as chairman and secretary, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment in 1984 for theft from an employee and false accounting.

He was given a six month suspended sentence eight years later for theft and forgery. In 2005 he was jailed for to eight months for theft and false accounting.

Mr Janes said: “Had the club known about his previous convictions they would no doubt have not given him the responsibility of being treasurer.”

Bowerman, of Grove Park, Misterton, admitted to police that he spent the money on ‘little things’ such as an occasional meal out. Bowerman denied wasting the cash on luxury items and said his wife never knew about the thefts.

In mitigation the court was told Bowerman was given the chance by police to pay the money back but was unable to get a loan because of his age.

Bowerman, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft between September 1, 2011 and May 30, 2012.

Passing sentence Recorder Nirmil Shant QC told Bowerman she was reducing the jail sentence because of his age but added it was the fourth time he had helped himself to other people’s money.

Recorder Shant said: “This is a breach of trust. People in the club put their trust in you. You repaid them by stealing their money.”