A FASLANE naval base worker has been told he faces prison for embezzling thousands of pounds from his employer.

Matthew Cassidy previously pleaded guilty to stealing the sum from HM Naval Base Clyde, where he worked as an engineering apprentice, from August 2014 to February 2016 by submitting false expense claims for training courses.

Cassidy appeared in the dock at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday, September 29 for sentencing after the case was deferred for social work reports.

Depute fiscal Kevin Doherty said: “He became familiar with the procedures required.

“He filed claims for five different training courses he attended, unfortunately he saw fit to gain further cash by filing multiple duplicate claims to the sum of £19,000.

“It came to light during an audit enquiry.”

Ministry of Defence police began investigating the 25-year-old’s activities soon after and he was detained.

Cassidy’s defence agent said his client had fully accepted his circumstances and made arrangements to begin paying the cash back using money owed to him by the naval base via the union before starting monthly repayments of between £50 to £100.

However, he did not know when he would receive the payment and he must wait until court proceedings are completed before he can repay the base.

His defence agent told the court: “[The report says] he has attempted to blame a mental health background, which has never been presented to me, but there is a mental health background.”

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry allowed a four-week continuation for the defence to obtain a GP report into Cassidy’s mental health and to determine a date for the payment to be received.

Sheriff Hendry told Cassidy his crime would have been classed as a petition matter – leaving scope for a more severe sentence – a short time ago and he would consider all options available to him.

He added: “The maximum available is one year in prison and as yet I am undecided.

“I want you to understand quite clearly that in no respect can prison be ruled out, notwithstanding your previous good record.”

Sentencing on Cassidy, of Cardowan Road, Carntyne, was deferred until October 27.

An MoD spokesman said: “Although administrative action is a private matter between the individual and the employer, the MoD has a policy of zero tolerance in respect of irregularity, including fraud, theft and corruption.

“All MoD Crown servants service and civilian, are required to adhere to this policy and demonstrate high standards of personal honesty and integrity.

“Personnel who commit offences will be dealt with appropriately and this can result in prosecution and dismissal.”