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Police watchdog chief spared prison for £20,000 taxpayer-funded travel fraud.

A police watchdog chief who siphoned off more than £20,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for his travel to work for seven years has been spared jail.

Procurement manager Ian Every, 50, abused his role by acquiring free travel to the Independent Police Complaints Commission HQ in Holborn.

He began the scam in March 2009 — at the same time his marriage was falling apart, Blackfriars crown court heard, and continued until he was rumbled in January this year.

Every, who pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position, was in charge of approving work travel costs for IPCC employees. But he was secretly battling a gambling addiction and spiralling debts, the court was told.

Judge Peter Clarke, QC, sentenced him to 12 months’ prison, suspended for two years, and community service after hearing that the civil servant has repaid the money he stole, thanks to loans from his family. “You have admitted a serious breach of trust,” the judge told him. “It leaves a very bad example for anyone working for organisations such as that.” He said Every’s scam was exposed in a routine audit thanks to his “nonchalance about what he was doing”.

Defence counsel Josie Sonnessa said Every, of Uckfield, East Sussex, had been upfront about his crime, helping investigators discover the extent of the fraud and resigning from the IPCC almost immediately after being caught.

“He has hit rock bottom,” she said. “His marriage breakdown coincided with the start of the offence. It is no excuse but perhaps provides some explanation why a man gets to this stage of life and behaves so foolishly.”