‘Robust’ plans for theft-hit markets

David Steadman stole thousands from Adur District Council while employed as town centres coordinator. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
David Steadman stole thousands from Adur District Council while employed as town centres coordinator. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Changes have been made at markets in Adur after the former council employee who ran them was sentenced for stealing £35,000.

David Steadman, who pleaded guilty, was given a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and told to repay the money he stole.

He was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court last week.

A spokesperson for Adur District Council said:

“Since a change in management, a number of measures have been introduced to prevent any future issues with the market’s finances.

“Each individual market will have their separate budget monitored, with payments thoroughly logged and checked. The introduction of online payments will also help safeguard and monitor these transactions.

“We hope these changes in security and the efforts of current officers will help maintain the success of Adur’s markets, for both the stallholders and customers.”

Steadman, who no longer works for the council, ran markets across Shoreham, Steyning and Lancing and collected money from stallholders.

It is estimated he stole £35,000 over several years and the theft was only discovered when the council decided to internally investigate options for the future of the markets.

Marine ward councillor, Joss Loader, said:

“David Steadman has pleaded guilty and gone through the justice system and has been sentenced accordingly.

“Quite rightly, local people are now asking what Adur District Council is doing to tighten up its procedures and to ensure that cash payments are safeguarded in future.

“At the end of the day, we are talking about public money and it’s only right that people have concrete assurances that public sector organisations have robust mechanisms in place to ensure that cash payments are accounted for and can’t be siphoned off.

“This wasn’t a one-off lapse of judgement - but theft over a sustained period of time - so I was reassured to hear that a review has gone ahead and hopefully this sad and sorry incident cannot be repeated elsewhere.”

If Steadman fails to repay the money he will face an additional 12-month jail term.