Sheffield B&Q salesman conned customers out of thousands to fund gambling addiction

The B&Q store where John Sharp worked on Queen's Road, Sheffield
The B&Q store where John Sharp worked on Queen's Road, Sheffield
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Smooth-talking B&Q super-salesman John Sharp was a big hit with his Sheffield customers.

He promised homeowners the kitchens of their dreams and even threw in extras – all at an unbeatable price.

The only trouble was the store giant never received any payments – and customers never got their kitchens.

It was only when Sharp did a runner to Turkey that the full picture emerged.

He left the store £18,000 out of pocket and gambled away the cash at the casino next to where he worked.

He has now been jailed for 14 months at Sheffield Crown Court.

The court heard Sharp, aged 48, had offered big discounts to 25 customers at the B&Q on Queen’s Road, with four falling into his trap.

Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, said Sharp was a good salesman who cheekily gave discounts beyond what the store would have offered.

Sharp then asked the customers either to pay him in cash or transfer money to his own bank account.

“None of the customers had any reason to believe it was anything other than a bone fide process,” said Miss Gallagher.

Phillip Mallinson and his partner Susan Wilson-Gray were offered a trade discount on their kitchen and 20 per cent off taps and a shower. The couple transferred £7,574 to Sharp’s account.

Although the new kitchen never arrived, they were not in a rush – and when Sharp was in hospital they even visited him. Sharp began to make excuses for the non-delivery of the kitchen and when Mr Mallinson went in to sort it out both he and B&Q discovered the fraud.

It then transpired Sharp had booked a holiday for one to Turkey and fled the country. His wife and the police persuaded him over the phone to come back and he was arrested.

He told police he had every intention of placing the customers’ orders but simply went to the casino, where he gambled in his break.

When B&Q realised what had happened they provided the kitchens for the four customers at their expense.

The salesman stole £11,257 from the customers but because he applied unauthorised discounts the loss to the store was £18,018.

Sharp, of Beighton Road, Woodhouse, Sheffield admitted four offences of fraud from November 2014 to January 2015.

David Baines, for Sharp, said the father-of-one is now separated from his wife and is living in a hostel. He has joined Gambling Anonymous and has not been to a casino since February.