An employee who over-ordered electronic devices for his firm and sold them on the black market has been banned from the profession.

Stuart Ashpole was caught following a routine audit in 2017 carried out by Bristol firm Barcan & Kirby LLP which identified that some of the devices he had ordered were missing.

At a disciplinary meeting Ashpole, a facilities manager, admitted ordering the items which he then sold for personal gain. He was summarily dismissed.

The firm reported Ashpole to the police and he subsequently pleaded guilty to theft. He was sentenced to 16 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and to carry out 120 hours of unsupervised work. He also had to pay £5,000 compensation and a £115 victim surcharge.

A regulatory settlement agreement published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed that Ashpole accepted his conviction made him undesirable to be involved in a legal practice.

He expressed regret for his actions and said he had shown insight and remorse in respect of his conduct.

As a non-solicitor, he was made subject of a section 43 order preventing him working for any regulated firm. He also agreed to pay £300 costs.