A man who stole work by Rolf Harris amongst £30,000 worth of cash and goods is “staring down the barrel of a custodial sentence.”

Matthew Charles William Dobson, 26, from Longfield in Falmouth pleaded guilty to 17 counts of theft and fraud, totalling an estimated £30,000, while working at the Driftwood Gallery in between August 2012 and July 2013.

He asked for 37 other offences to be taken into consideration when he is sentenced.

There was some dispute between Dobson’s solicitor Terry Eastwood, and crown prosecutor Phillip Lee, over the estimated value of the paintings, with Mr Eastwood saying the total loss to the gallery was around £23,000.

Mr Eastwood said: “We say these pictures were sold to the gallery on a sale or return basis.

He gave as an example the book of Rolf Harris paintings was valued at £295, but if they had been returned it would have been for the price of £147 which the gallery had paid.

Recorder Jeremy Wright said: “As far as the sentence is concerned, there won’t be much difference between £23,000 and £30,000.

“You are staring down the barrel of a custodial sentence.”

Appearing in the dock in a black and purple plaid shirt and hi-top trainers, Dobson pleaded guilty to six charges of stealing cash, six charges of stealing art and one charge of stealing computer equipment including a monitor and hard drives, as well as four charges of fraud.

He was bailed until he is sentenced on September 12, with the condition that he sleeps each night at his brother’s house in Longfield, and a curfew from 10pm and 7am.

Mr Wright said: “The fact I’m giving you bail is no indication of what the sentence will be. You must understand that all options are open and the most likely sentence involves custody.”