The former manager of Letchworth BID has been jailed for 20 months after pocketing £60,000 worth of COVID-19 grants.

Christopher Andoh-Wilson, of Brompton Close, Luton, was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court today (Thursday, February 8) having pleaded guilty to five offences of fraud by false representation and one of acquiring criminal property.

He had been given a suspended sentence back in December, but it was later discovered that two references presented to the court were forgeries.

Andoh-Wilson had also previously been sentenced to 31 months in July 2021, for attempting to smuggle cocaine, cannabis, spice and SIM card to a prisoner while he was working as a Serco custody cells manager at Luton Crown Court.

The 32-year-old had been working as Letchworth BID manager between April 2019 and July 2021, during which time he made three applications for COVID-19 grants, including one for Letchworth BID.

The Comet: Andoh-Wilson had also previously been sentenced to 31 months in July 2021.Andoh-Wilson had also previously been sentenced to 31 months in July 2021. (Image: Herts police)

He told the organisations the money, totalling £60,000, had been refused before keeping it himself. He also pocketed two £100 licences that had been paid to him.

When he appeared at court for sentencing in December, he presented a forged character reference from a work colleague and a letter of appreciation of his work from a Mayor of Luton, but the judge did not know that the mayor was his mother and that he had altered the date on the letter from 2021 to 2023.

"The question was would the sentence had been any different if the court knew it had been provided with false documents," said prosecutor Carolina Bracken.

"He was exercising an act of deceit when claiming to be remorseful and rehabilitated."

Will Noble, defending, added: "He concedes it was extremely foolish and the actions of a desperate man who had experienced custody in difficult circumstances. He was in the process of turning his life around and sought to put his position in the best possible light."

Sentencing Andoh-Wilson, Judge Bilal Siddique said: "When I first sentenced you, you indicated you were apologetic and I took account of all the references.

"You are a repeat offender where there has been a breach of trust. It is now accepted you forged a character reference and forged a date on a reference from the mayor, who is your mother.

"This is strong evidence you had not rehabilitated. Your remorse was far from genuine. You deliberately sought to pull wool over the court’s eyes. Your conduct was extension of your previous offences."