FORMER UKIP Chief-of-Staff Crispin John, 42, admitted helping himself to almost £2,000 worth of printer cartridges and other office supplies from the Senedd, Cardiff Magistrates’ Court heard.

John, who was UKIP’s Chief-of-Staff in the Senedd at the time, committed the crimes between September and November of 2019.

His thefts alerted Senedd staff who quickly traced the missing items and reported the thefts to police.

As soon as UKIP became aware of the accusation they suspended Mr John pending the police investigation.

John, who stood as a UKIP candidate in council elections in 2017, entered a guilty plea when his case went before magistrates in Cardiff last week (Thurs, March 11).

His guilty plea was taken into account but that still left Mr. John having to not only pay back the £1,947.25 value of his thefts, but also a £95 victim surcharge and £85 costs totalling £2,127.25. John was also given a community order to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months.

A UKIP spokesperson said: “Mr John has never been an employee of the party – only to the group and later to Gareth Bennett after the group’s dissolution.

“He has not been a member of UKIP for well over a year. I believe he left the party shortly after Gareth became an independent MS.”

Gareth Bennett, former UKIP leader in the Senedd, issued a statement that read: “When evidence of possible wrongdoing within my office came to light I immediately informed staff at the Senedd.

“Crispin was suspended immediately and these events ultimately led to a police investigation. I will not be making any further comment on this matter.”

We spoke to Wales’ only UKIP councillor Paul Dowson who told The Herald: “He’s a former member of the party that we are glad to see the back of.

“The new UKIP has a new focus and new ambitions and shouldn’t be judged on the actions of the past.”