A STOURPORT man has avoided a jail term for using an ex-employer's account to buy himself more than £750 of fuel.

Adrian Sharman used a special card belonging to Browne's Removals, in Droitwich Spa, allowing him to fill up his car and a van hired to start up a rival firm.

The 38-year-old, of Manor Road, Stourport, admitted using the card six times and lying to Browne's that he did not have a criminal record when he applied for the job.

He left the company but kept the card even after promising to return it, said Lesley Ashton, prosecuting.

"This was an abuse of trust," she told Worcester magistrates court.

"He clearly knew he was not entitled to use that card and went on and did so."

Fergus Maxwell, defending, said Sharman lied at his interview because he had missed out on previous jobs because of revealing his criminal past.

He said he used the card because setting up his own business cost more than expected and that a period in prison would be "utterly devastating" to his family.

Magistrates told him he was "very, very close" to spending time in jail for the "extremely serious" offences.

They ordered him to pay back the £756.37 he took from his ex-employers, complete a 200-hour community punishment order and pay £55 towards costs.