A MAN has been jailed after getting a well-paid job by falsely claiming to have a degree from St Andrews University then stealing £131,000 from his employers.

Robert Stewart, 49, claimed he had an accountancy qualification to get the £49,000-a-year job with Cash Generator and The Cheque Centre.

Then, over the course of more than two years he embezzled £131,000 from his Edinburgh-based employers.

He was caught in October 2013 when the firm's managing director received a letter suggesting Stewart's qualifications were not genuine. An audit was carried out and it was discovered that payments had been made into accounts held by him.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court, he was jailed for 21 months and ordered to pay back all the money within 12 months through the sale of his house in Airdrie.

Sheriff Donald Corke told him he had "squandered a substantial amount of money".

Stewart pleaded guilty in July 2014 to the charges but sentence had been deferred.

His wife died of cancer in 2015 and Stewart made repeated promises to sell the house, but refused offers from a family member and a friend. He then failed to make a court appearance in 2015 and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was remanded in custody in August this year.

Mr Corke said: “Given your record and the nature of the offence, which involves a substantial breach of trust, and failing to take advantage of various opportunities given by the court to pay back the money, only a custodial sentence is appropriate."