A FALMOUTH man who admitted the theft of almost £30,000 of mobile phones has narrowly escaped prison.

Nicholas May, of Trevalyor Road, received a two-year jail term, suspended for two years, when he appeared for sentencing in Taunton Crown Court on August 30.

Friends and relatives were among the victims of May, who had previously pleaded guilty to 27 charges at Truro Crown Court in July.

At that hearing, prosecutor Mary McCarthy explained that May had previously worked on his own before taking a job with Mad Mobiles Ltd in June 2014.

She said he "perpetrated frauds" by taking out contracts in the names of people without their knowledge, gaining a new handset and then selling it off.

The names of family and friends were among those which he fraudulently used.

By December 2016 his employer became suspicious, as May was using phones which were out of stock.

When confronted, May admitted fraud to the value of £19,000, but it was later revealed that it had been going on longer and in previous stores.

He defrauded 14 customers, the total value of which was £29,696.

Ms McCarthy explained that according to the sentencing guidelines, the offences were in the "high culpability" bracket, in which he abused a position of trust over a sustained period of time, with a large number of victims.

In Taunton at the August 30 sentencing, Judge David Ticehurst also ordered May to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

A further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will take place on January 3, to determine how much money May will have to pay back.