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Former Ukip official stole equipment worth almost £2,000 from the Senedd

A former Ukip official stole almost £2,000 worth of public equipment after swiping office gear from the Senedd.

Crispin John, 42, helped himself to expensive printer cartridges and other equipment paid for by taxpayers.

John had been employed by the Ukip party group in Cardiff Bay before later being appointed chief of staff to then group leader Gareth Bennett.

John, who also stood as a Ukip candidate in 2017 council elections, carried out the crimes between September and November 2019 while working for the group leader in the Senedd. But he was caught when staff traced the missing items.

Senedd officials reported him to police and John admitted theft at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court. Mr Bennett said John was suspended as soon as the crimes came to light and that led to the police investigation.

John – who describes himself as a “political strategist, writer and commentator” – admitted stealing goods belonging to the Senedd worth £1,947.25 when he appeared in front of magistrates earlier this month.

John, of Cyncoed, Cardiff, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,947.25 of compensation to the Senedd. He was handed a rehabilitation requirement and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £95 victim surcharge.

A Ukip spokesman said: “Mr John has never been an employee of the party – only to the group and later to Gareth Bennett after the group’s dissolution.

“He has not been a member of Ukip for well over a year. I believe he left the party shortly after Gareth became an independent MS.”

John worked as an adviser for Mr Bennett before working as his chief of staff when he took over as party leader in 2018.

But 15 months after taking over as leader Mr Bennett quit the party to become an independent and will stand as a candidate for the Abolish the Assembly party at forthcoming elections in May.

In a statement Mr Bennett said: “When evidence of possible wrongdoing within my office came to light I immediately informed staff at the Senedd.

“Crispin was suspended immediately and these events ultimately led to a police investigation. I will not be making any further comment on this matter.”

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