TWO bank workers who stole more than £350,000 from the accounts of three Manchester City footballers were jailed yesterday.
Paul Sherwood, 26, a cashier, and Paul Hanley, his 20-year-old supervisor, fleeced the soccer stars by making a series of withdrawals from the Co-op Bank in Manchester city centre over a 26-month period.
The pair secretly diverted funds from the accounts of Djamel Belmadi, Daniel Van Buyten and Vincente Vuoso shortly after each of the players had left the Premiership side.
They persuaded two 21-year-old friends - Lewis Chadwick and Zac Smith - to let them use their bank accounts to launder the stolen cash.
Yesterday at Manchester Crown Court, Sherwood, from Prestwich, Greater Manchester, was jailed for 32 months and Hanley, from Manchester, was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders' institution.
Chadwick, also of Manchester, was sentenced to 200 hours of community punishment and a 5,000 fine, while Smith, from Glossop, Derbyshire, was given a community punishment order, fined 460 and ordered to pay 500 costs.
Sentencing the men, who admitted multiple theft charges, Judge Martin Steiger told Sherwood and Hanley that they had committed a "gross breach of trust".
Between December 2002 and February 2005, the pair stole 358,621 from the three footballers, who did not notice the money was missing.