A SENIOR manager at Great Western Railway fiddled more than £10,000 on his expenses - despite earning £90,000 a year.

Mark Heffernan, 47, former deputy operations director at the rail company, falsely claimed a total of £10,530 between June 2009 and December 2016 by authorising expenditure on alcohol, travel, hotels and bonuses.

Heffernan, from Chudleigh, admitted the fraud and was yesterday (Monday) handed a 12-month jail sentence suspended for 12 months (concurrent) on four counts

He must also pay £10,530 compensation to GWR within three months and court costs of £1,800.

His former personal assistant Jennifer Perry, 46, of Pill, admitted to facilitating the payment of fraudulent expenses totalling £3,281. She was fined £500 with £500 court costs.

Investigating officer DC Dilwyn Lewis said: "The sentencing is part culmination - as a number of trials remain outstanding - of a long, thorough and complex police investigation.

"Heffernan abused his senior position to get additional benefits from the company for him and his team over a period of seven years and Perry knowingly facilitated this on a number of occasions.

"It’s wrong when senior management flagrantly abuse their position of trust and levels of honesty and integrity by acts of fraudulent behaviour.

"This sentence should send a strong message to fraudsters - we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour and we will make every effort to bring these offenders before the courts."