NEWBURY Balloon Festival organiser and former Newbury Labour Party candidate Richard Garvie has been ordered to pay back more than £1,000 and carry out unpaid work for paying for train tickets using a card from a closed bank account.
Mr Garvie, who now lives in Corby, Northants, was previously convicted of fraud and this week sentenced to 60 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay back all the £895 he owed East Midlands Trains from fraud offences carried out in 2012 plus £339 in other outstanding fines.
The 31-year-old, who stood for Speen ward at the 2011 West Berkshire local elections, told Corby Magistrates Court that the case had “destroyed his life”.
Mr Garvie, defending himself, said he lost everything - including his job - when the case became public knowledge.
He said: “Not only did this destroy my chances of winning the election, I lost my party, which was a massive thing to me, and friends. It destroyed my life.”
He was previously found guilty at Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court after buying train tickets using a card for a closed bank account.
The 30-year-old, who also organised Thatcham Fireworks last year, denied the charges against him, claiming that although he intentionally ran up the debt there was no evidence to suggest he intended for East Midlands Trains not to receive payment for the 17 different transactions.
Sentencing him this week, magistrates made Mr Garvie subject to a 12-month community order requiring him to perform 60 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay back the £1,234 to East Midlands Trains, £400 in prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
For the full story, pick up a copy of this week's Newbury Weekly News, out on Thursday.