A ROYAL Navy rating who "hacked" into the defence budget to fund a luxury lifestyle has been jailed.
Kern Emery Hackshaw claimed expenses to which he was not entitled while working as a clerk at RNAS Culdrose, near Helston in Cornwall.
In a little over two years, he "ripped- off" the Royal Navy for just over £171,000, using the money to buy a BMW M3 convertible and put a deposit on a house in Saltash.
His colleague, Alison John, was also fleecing the service and, while working in a similar but more junior role, pocketed just over £34,000 – although he did not spend the money.
At Truro Crown Court yesterday Judge Christopher Elwen jailed the two men, Hackshaw for two years and eight months and John for 16 months.
At earlier hearings Hackshaw had admitted 18 counts of fiddling expenses and allowances, fraud and converting criminal property obtained by fraud from the Royal Navy. John had pleaded guilty to eight counts of dishonesty.
In handing down sentence, he told Hackshaw: "You abstracted £171,000 from public funds. This was the defence budget that was being hacked into."
He added there could be no alternative but immediate, custodial sentence for both, despite their guilty pleas.
Hackshaw and John, both from the Caribbean island of St Vincent, joined the Royal Navy in 2003.
Three years later they were transferred to Culdrose, Hackshaw as a Naval logistician in charge of pay-roll at 857 Squadron, and John in a similar but more junior position.
The court heard Hackshaw was in a position of "trust and responsibility" earning a salary of £26,000.
However, between August 2006 and October 2008, he lodged mileage and 'home to duty' allowance – neither of which he was entitled to because he lived on the base – to the tune of more than £171,000.
He used the money to put a deposit on a luxury car and on his home in Grassmere Way, Pillmere, Saltash.
John, who was earning £21,000, also made fraudulent claims between December 2007 and November the following year totalling just over £34,000, money he kept in his bank account.
The court head an investigation uncovered the false claims in late 2008.
John, who was on a tour of Afghanistan, was arrested at RAF Brize Norton as he returned from the front line.
The court heard Hackshaw, who had initially denied the charges, may be deported on completion of his sentence.
His solicitor Fred Howell said he was remorseful and knew he had brought shame on himself and his family.
A confiscation hearing will be held in May to determine how the money Hackshaw stole can be retrieved.
John, who had not spent the cash, was ordered to pay it back.
A British passport holder, his barrister Michael Melville-Shreeve, said his life was "crushed" and as all the money would be recovered the "only loss is to John".
Speaking after the sentencing, a Royal Navy spokesman expressed satisfaction at the convictions.