A TRAINEE flooring fitter used a company credit card to splash out on cocaine.

Michael Wallace, 35, had been sent to London over May Bank Holiday 2016 by his boss at Corsham-based BSB Flooring.

His boss had given a company credit card to the contractor with whom Wallace was working. The card was meant to fund food and other basic items the pair would need while working in the capital.

After the bank holiday, the company received a handwritten note from Wallace informing his boss he was not planning to return to work and that he had struggled with a cocaine habit.

The company's manager checked with the credit card company. Three cash withdrawals totalling £600 had been made between May 27 and 31. The card had also been used to make payments of £35.13 to Tesco.

Wallace left Wiltshire for Cornwall and it wasn’t until 2019 that he was picked up by police. Interviewed by officers, he claimed he had been owed money by his boss. Wage slips from the company disproved that claim.

He initially pleaded not guilty to three counts of theft and one charge of fraud. When his solicitors lost touch with him over the summer a warrant was issued for his arrest and he was remanded in custody at the end of November.

Appearing before Swindon Crown Court via video link from Exeter prison on Friday morning, Wallace, formerly of Potley Lane, Corsham, but now living in Camborne, Cornwall, admitted theft and fraud by false representation.

Chris Spencer, defending, said his client had been addicted to cocaine at the time of the offending. Since moving to Cornwall he had given up the class A drug but developed a heroin habit. He was now receiving a prescription for heroin substitute methadone.

His partner was critically ill in hospital and Mr Spencer asked the judge to consider a non-custodial sentence to ensure he could visit the woman. “Her prognosis is not good and Mr Wallace is anxious to be in a position to see her as quickly as possible.”

Noting Wallace had been in custody for almost a month and his partner’s condition was critical, Recorder Anna Midgley imposed a 12 month community order with an eight month curfew.

The judge said: “That is really quite a difficult sentence in a way, Mr Wallace, because it means for eight months you are going to have to be indoors between 8pm and 7am.”