SALESMAN Aaron Kennett who took three months off to travel the world on cash stolen from work has landed behind bars.

He plundered nearly quarter of a million pounds from his employers Oak Furniture Land by making scores of false refunds.

The 28-year-old used bank accounts of an assortment of friends and family to siphon £213,447 out of the company.

And a colleague who suspected something was going on after hearing him boasting at a boozy Christmas bash left his job after a first internal investigation cleared him.

After he was caught he still maintained he had done nothing wrong even though all 13 of his mates had admitted laundering the money through their accounts.

But on the day of trial he finally accepted his crime, still insisting he was not the main player, and he has now been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Wiltshire Police said: “A meticulous investigation with JB Global uncovered the extent of the fraud totalling £213,447.17. Enquiries into phone records and bank transactions revealed links between Kennett and his associates. Photos were discovered of members of the group enjoying holidays worldwide paid for with the stolen money while others used it for expenditure and to fund gambling habits.”

Swindon Crown Court heard Kennet, of Avening Street, Gorse Hill, had claimed a colleague, who he wouldn't name, had shown him how to do steal the money and he had used most of it to pay off cocaine dealers.

He started at the South Marston based firm in late March 2014 and by July that year he was stealing from them.

Exploiting flaws in security at the multi million-pound business, he made a string of fake refunds which were in the region of £1,500 a time.

At Christmas that year he left the firm to make his round the world trip, getting back to his desk in April 2015 and returning to crime.

The last payment was made in September 2015, less than two weeks before he was suspended from work.

Jonathan Simpson, defending, said his client did well at school had planned to go to college to study engineering.

But when the course fell through he started using cocaine and after getting the job was shown how to carry out the crime.

He said though Kennett received a little under half of what was taken he had nothing to show for it aside from the holiday.

The money was spent either paying off drug debts or funding more drink and drugs, the court was told.

Jailing Kennett, who admitted fraud and money laundering, Recorder Noel Casey said: "You were the inside man in this fraud.

"Points have been made that you were not necessarily the only inside man, or the man with a leading role. You did have a leading role. You also abused your position of trust."

After the case DC Bev Mobey said kennett had abused his position and the trust of his employers.

“Kennett and the others shamelessly funded lifestyles that they would not usually have been able to lead, enjoying travel abroad, expensive goods, hotels and holiday spending money. Photos and phone records show that in some instances various members of this conspiracy even took holidays together.

“Working closely with Oak Furniture Land and Barclaycard we have been able to put together overwhelming evidence of their guilt and bring these people before the courts,” the detective said.

“I would hope that this would act as a deterrent for anyone who may consider this course of action in the future.”

Five men and woman were put on community orders for money laundering and seven others will be sentenced on July 12.

Jamie Nichols, 26 from Egdon Close was told to do 40 hours unpaid work and pay compensation of £3704.

Amara Holgate, 21, of Courtenay Road was given 60 hours a £60 compensation bill.

Connor Satchell, 25 of Devizes Road – was ordered to do 100 hours and pay compensation of £60.

Lewis Maynard, 26 from Conisborough was instructed to do 100 hours and pay back £2400.

Luke Paterson, 29 from from Whitehill Close, Ramsbury was given a 24-month imprisonment suspended for two years.

Chelsea Drayton, 25 of Whitehill Close, Ramsbury was told to carry out 80 hours unpaid work and pay compensation of £60.

A spokesperson from JB Global, owners of Oak Furniture Land said: "We would like to thank Wiltshire Police for their hard work in bringing the offenders to justice."