A former senior civil servant has been jailed for 16 months for stealing almost €17,000 while managing a social welfare office in Dún Laoghaire.

Brian King, 48, from Springhill Avenue, Blackrock pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The offences took place two years ago.

King deliberately overpaid social welfare recipients for more than a year.

He would later demand they pay back the money or risk losing their benefits.

He accepted the repayments in cash, but kept the money for himself.

The scam was uncovered when the Department of Social Protection received a tip-off in an anonymous letter.

Mr King immediately admitted his guilt.

The court heard his workload had increased due to rising unemployment and the numbers claiming benefit.

This was adding to his stress and fuelled a gambling habit. The money may now be recovered from his pension.

Judge Martin Nolan said he had lost his position in life and his career, but because of the serious breach of trust involved he imposed a sentence of 16 months.