A decorator who stole 20 tablet computers from a school where he was working gave one to his son as a birthday present.

Farese Dowrah took the iPads from Ilsington Primary School near Newton Abbot while he was painting classrooms during the summer holiday when left unsupervised on a Saturday.

He sold all but two of the tablets in a pub in Newton Abbot but kept two which he gave as presents to his girlfriend and his son.

Each of the machines had a number on it and he tried to hide the fact the computer was stolen from his son by giving him the one with four on it and telling him it was put there specially because it was his fourth birthday.

Dowrah, aged 33, of Sherwell Lane, Torquay, was told his offence was a low sort or crime and that he was motivated by avarice when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court and admitted theft and handling.

He was jailed for six months, suspended for two years, ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work and pay the school's £250 insurance excess as compensation.

Judge Erik Salomonsen said: 'This was a low offence. You were given the privilege of working at the school but saw it as an opportunity of stealing the iPads. It was simple avarice.

'You only pleaded guilty on the morning of your trial and you made false assertions against wholly honest witnesses. If you go into custody you will come out without a job. I hope a suspended sentence will put pressure on you to live an honest life.

Miss Beth Heaton, prosecuting, said Dowrah was working as a painter and decorator at the school when he stole the 20 iPads, which were worth a total of more than £6,000.

The only two which were recovered were the ones he gave as presents to his son and girlfriend.

Mr Kevin Hopper, mitigating, said Dowrah is in full time employment running his own painting and decorating business and has a stable home with a new partner.

He said: 'He was working at the school and saw the iPads and the temptation was put in front of him and he could not resist it.'