A COMPANY director forged signatures on cheques ‘out of laziness’, a court has heard.

Edward Bizzey, of Knapp Lane, Ampfield, was running the Romsey firm Creative Land and Property Ltd when he forged the cheques worth more than £5,600.

Winchester Crown Court heard 47-year-old Bizzey forged the signatures of his colleague Andrew Hill on at least a dozen cheques between November 2012 and January 2016 – although it was claimed by the prosecution that it could have been as many as 18 cheques.

Jane Terry, prosecuting, said the total amount paid out via the forged cheques was £5,623.94, £3,200 of which had been paid back.

Ms Terry said Bizzey claimed he was entitled to the money he took, which she said Mr Hill disagreed with.

“He accepted from the outset he forged the signatures of Mr Hill,” she said.

The court heard how Bizzey and Mr Hill became friends – Mr Hill being Bizzey’s best man at his wedding – before Mr Hill, of Clanfield Properties Limited, recruited him in 2006.

When the forgeries were discovered Bizzey was dismissed before he set up his own property development firm Blue Leaf Projects Limited.

Mitigating, barrister Thomas Horder said: “The forging of this signature was the most stupid thing he has ever done.

“These two company directors (Bizzey and Mr Hill), they were very rarely in the same place at the same time.

“It was done out of laziness.”

Sentencing Bizzey to a two-year conditional discharge, Judge Keith Cutler said: “The whole system relies on people doing what is required... sadly here you have fallen short.

“You have lost your good character now.”

Judge Cutler rejected a bid by Ms Terry to get a compensation order, but did order Bizzey to pay costs of £670.

He also declined to disqualify Bizzey as a company director.