TWO former managers at Edinburgh Airport have dodged jail after being found guilty of fraud.
Steven Spalding, 46, and Stephen Cunningham, 41, were caught lining their pockets through a series of false invoices and bogus consultancy fees almost three years ago. They were also found to have used their positions to secure fuel cards and laptops to which they were not entitled.
The pair were each sentenced to 200 hours of community service at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday after pleading guilty.
Spalding was previously employed as the airport’s property and retail operations manager while Cunningham worked as the commercial account manager.
The duo, who were responsible for running contracts, including car parking, car hire and taxis, both resigned from their positions in November 2013, following an internal airport disciplinary hearing.
A subsequent police investigation confirmed they had both abused their positions to commit a number of frauds.
Inquiries revealed that pressure had been exerted on an external supplier to the airport, and false invoices had been created to show consultancy fees, which were paid into a bank account of
Spalding. Analysis of bank accounts further revealed that exactly half of these funds were paid onto Cunningham.
Spalding, who had worked at the airport as property and retail operations manager since 2008 and had specific experience in contract management and negotiation, also intercepted the process of a further payment from an off-airport contractor, which was paid directly into his account.
The investigation came as the airport was embarking on a major £25 million terminal expansion, that has since created a revamped security area and new shops.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “We are delighted that justice has been served on these two men – Edinburgh Airport has a zero tolerance policy to crimes committed on the campus and will not tolerate this
kind of illegal behaviour.”
Detective Inspector Arron Clinkscales, of the organised crime and counter terrorism unit at Police Scotland, said: “The police investigation revealed that both Steven Spalding and Stephen Cunningham abused their positions as managers.
“They carried out calculated schemes of deception over a prolonged period, to obtain funds and other goods and services, which they
were clearly not entitled to.
“They applied pressure on an external supplier, threatening to withdraw airport contracts, unless fraudulent
payments were made to them.
“Police Scotland will thoroughly investigate any reports of wrongdoings by employees, and report the circumstances to the Procurator Fiscal, where appropriate.”