A PEMBROKE Dock man, who stole more than £32,000 from a local community trust has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

Andrew Johnstone, 65, of Front Street, stole £32,940.88 from the Pater Hall Trust over a three year period while acting as honorary treasurer, an unpaid role.

Johnstone was sentenced at Swansea Crown court earlier this month, having previously admitted the theft from October 18, 2010-December 20, 2013.

The case was initially heard at Haverfordwest magistrates, where jurisdiction was declined, and was transferred to Swansea Crown Court.

At Swansea Crown Court, Johnstone was sentenced to 15 months jail, suspended for 24 months.

He was also placed on a 12 month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was subject to a Confiscation Order for £5 under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Speaking after sentencing of Johnstone, Company Secretary and Hon Treasurer of the Pater Hall Community Trust Ian Jones said: “It’s very easy for somebody in charge to cover their tracks and hoodwink the trustees.

"We can learn from that, and the trustees have learned from the experience.

“I was approached, as company secretary; it fell to me to carry out investigations and report to the trustees. Mr Johnstone was suspended and following that he resigned on Christmas Eve 2013, and the matter was reported to the police.”

Mr Jones said it was hoped the Pater Hall Trust would regain the money stolen.

“The Trust was insured so we need to make a claim under our insurance policy, but it’s not cut and dry.

"It’s a three month period because the court case has now been finalised, a certificate of conviction has been sent to the insurance company; the amount is agreed."