A SEX offender who scammed a family-run piano business out of thousands of pounds has been jailed.

Neil Thursby - who was previously locked up for making indecent images of children - stole the money to fund his ‘addiction to pornography’ a court heard.

The 35-year-old of Paradise Street, Oxford, had already admitted theft by employee and fraud by false representation.

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He appeared at Oxford Crown Court to be sentenced for those offences on Tuesday.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Julian Lynch said in 2016 Thursby was employed by Roberts Pianos Oxford, working in IT support, when ‘unusual transactions’ were noticed.

Staff at the business – which has showrooms on St Clements and Magdalen Road – asked Thursby to investigate, unaware that he was the source of the inregularities.

After an investigation it later became apparent that Thursby had been siphoning refund payments over a 10-month period into a bank account in his name.

The total amount that was stolen came to £7,372.14

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Paypal payments had also been made to a card he controlled and he had stolen petty cash from the company.

Not long after the theft had been uncovered the firm offered to allow him to pay back the money but instead he stopped going to work and the police were alerted.

Oxford Mail:

After the thefts Thursby was separately investigated for sex offences involving indecent images and he was spared jailed for those crimes in December 2016.

In June last year he breached that order and was jailed for 14 months.

He was finally interviewed about the theft matters the following month and he told police he had stolen the money because of an addiction to online pornography.

Thursby said he had become embroiled in debt as a result of this addiction.

He then admitted those 2016 offences before he was sentenced this week.

In a victim personal statement the shop owner said the firm was ‘shocked and hurt’ at the theft and said Thursby had a ‘high degree of responsibility’ in the business.

His defence barrister Sophie Chaplin said that her client was sorry for what he had done and wanted to repay the money.

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She said: “He is deeply remorseful for what he has done to this family company he had worked with for a number of years.

“He has always been very full and frank in relation to what he did to this company and why it was he offended in this way.”

Sentencing, Judge Nigel Daly read out extracts from the victim personal statement of the business owner – Marcus Roberts.

In that statement Mr Roberts said he had been aware of Thursby’s problems when he hired him and aware that he needed help.

He said he had offered him a job and found him somewhere to live.

Judge Daly said the statement showed the ‘level of trust’ Thursby had as an employee of five years.

Thursby was jailed for a total of 16 months for the offences.

He will also face a further proceeds of crime hearing on June 11 which will seek to recover his ill-gotten gains.