Wisbech

A 53-year-old father and his 25-year-old daughter have been sentenced in court for stealing more than £25,000 from their Wisbech-based employer.

Martyn Slender worked as a managing director for the company while his daughter Bethany worked as an office assistant and later a transport manager.

It was based in Wisbech and set up by Martyn’s friend in 2015, but about a year after the haulage business began trading, despite high interest levels and a growing customer base, the victim and owner noticed it was starting to struggle.

In 2017, Martyn Slender approached the owner about a pay rise, a request which was declined at the time with an explanation given.

However, a year later the victim noticed the business was struggling again without much reason. After speaking to a number of potential customers, the owner was altered to a struggle getting hold of Martyn and Bethany.

He also discovered the pair had been instructing drivers to take on a number of ‘cash in hand’ jobs and return the money directly to them. Upon further inspection these jobs had not been put through the books and amounted to around £25,000 in total.

Martyn Slender, of Henry Warby Avenue, Wisbech, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison at Peterborough Crown Court on Friday, July 7.

Bethany Slender, of Sycamore Close, March, pleaded guilty to a single count of fraud, and was ordered to carry out 125 hours unpaid work, as well as paying £323 in compensation.

Detective Constable Mat Belfitt, who investigated, said: “This was an appalling betrayal of a friend who gave this pair well-paid roles within his business in order to help them out of financial difficulty.

“Today is the culmination four years of hard work to convict these two for the crimes they committed against the victim.

“I’m glad justice has been done today and hope this serves as a warning to others how seriously we take these crimes.”

Police are appealing for information after a man tried to burgle the home of a vulnerable elderly man in Wisbech.

The victim, a man in his 70s, was woken by a noise coming from downstairs in his home on Burcroft Road at around 12.30am on Saturday, July 2.

He saw someone attempting to prise open a window using a screwdriver. The victim challenged the man who ran away.

The male suspect has been described as wearing a dark jacket and dark trousers.

DC Pete Wise at Cambridgeshire Police said: “This was a frightening experience for the victim, and I appeal to anyone who may have seen a man matching this description in the area, or who has CCTV or doorbell footage that could help us, to get in touch.”

Anyone who does have information should call 101 and quote reference 35/47076/22 or anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 5551111.

A 20-year-old man has been locked up for three years after starting a fire in care accommodation with a discarded cigarette.

Callum Lilliot, 20, dropped a cigarette on his coat which he then threw onto his bed at his care accommodation in Awdry Drive, Wisbech, at about 10pm on Boxing Day 2021.

Officers initially were called to the property when Lilliot threatened to jump out of a second-floor window, but arrived to find smoke coming from an open window.

An officer began to kick the door down through fears that people were inside, before a carer opened it with a key and police tried to tackle the fire themselves.

The officers were beaten back by smoke and heat, causing two of them to be hospitalised with smoke inhalation. Four residents and carers were evacuated as Lilliot was arrested a short time later.

He claimed the fire had been an accident as temporary accommodation had to be arranged for other residents, but that was not to be the last time that Christmastime he got himself in trouble with the police.

In a further incident on December 29, just three days later, Lilliot rang 999 to say he wanted to hurt staff at Peterborough’s Edith Cavell Centre by burning it down.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of arson with intent to endanger life, arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered, and threatening to damage or destroy property, during a hearing at Cambridge Crown Court on Wednesday, June 29.

Lilliot was sentenced to three years detention in a young offenders institution.

Detective Sergeant Lee Womak, who investigated, said: “Lilliot showed little regard for the safety of others when he decided to deliberately drop his cigarette on his coat and start a fire.

“I don’t need to explain why starting fires is so dangerous and I hope Lilliot will reflect on his actions and consider how tragic the consequences could have been.”

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