A SOUTH Croydon businessman says he is determined to fight on to recover thousands of pounds stolen from him by his former close friend and employee.
Colin Thompson, of Dornton Road, South Croydon, has been battling to get his money back Jeffrey Hamblion since last year.
Last May, Hamblion, from Colchester, was given a suspended 16-week prison sentence and ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid by Croydon magistrates after admitting to stealing £3,500.
The money was taken while Hamblion was working as a rent collector from properties owned by Mr Thompson in Croydon, and used to fund Hamblion's online gambling.
Mr Thompson, unhappy that Hamblion had only been ordered to pay £260 compensation, decided to pursue a claim for more than £6,000 – the total amount he believed he was owed – through the civil courts.
He told the Advertiser he had won his case in Colchester County Court on January 14 and had been granted a charging order.
He said: "This effectively means I am now on the title deeds to Mr Hamblion's property and sit alongside his mortgage lender as a creditor."
He said he can now obtain the money owed either by gaining an Order for Sale from the court or waiting until Hamblion sells the property himself.
Mr Thompson said he had not decided which route to follow but was determined to get the money back and was considering further civil action to regain other sums he believes he is owed.
He said: "We had been friends for 20-odd years, since our schooldays, and I trusted him."
He was particularly upset because some of the people Hamblion had taken rent from were pensioners.
He said; "It is one thing to betray the trust of your friend and employer but to get pensioners involved is lower than low.
"I have never had an apology. Had he said he was sorry, admitted he had a problem and wanted to give the money back, things may not have been so difficult and complicated as they have been for him over the last year.
"I now want to pursue him until every legal avenue has been exhausted."