Exeter bar manager used company cash for Euro Disney holiday, debts and bills
A bar manager who cooked the books to pay for a Euro Disney holiday has escaped jail after repaying the money he stole.
Iain Jones, aged 36, used a company debit card and cheque book to swindle almost £5,500 from the two up-market Exeter pubs which he ran.
He used some of the money to pay for a family holiday and the rest to pay off debts and bills, Exeter Crown Court was told.
When he was caught he repaid £1,000 in cash straight away, only for the owner of the two pubs to find he had taken it straight out of the till.
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Jones, of Sandford Walk, Exeter, admitted six frauds and was jailed for six months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid community work by Judge Phillip Wassall.
Mr Lee Bremridge, prosecuting, said Jones was the general manager of the Fat Pig pub in Exeter and its sister outlet the Rusty Bike in 2010 and 2011 until owner Hamish Lothian discovered money was missing from the accounts.
He called in accountants who identified rogue payments including one for £276 to pay for a Euro Disney holiday and two more used to pay Jones’ personal debts.
The total loss was originally thought to be £14,500 but after further study this figure was revised to just under £5,500.
Mr Bremridge said:”The defendant acknowledges that is the amount he owes and he has now repaid it in full. When confronted in February 2011 he said he would repay the money but his cheques bounced.
“He then paid £1,000 in cash but it was found this had in fact been taken from one of the pubs and he had failed to bank it that day.”
Mr David Evans, defending, said Jones had acted out of character while under great financial stress but had always been determined to refund the money and has now done so.
He said he now runs his own business with two employees and therefore appreciates the importance of being able to have complete trust in staff.
Judge Wassall told Jones:”The only thing which stops me passing an immediate custodial sentence is that you have shown remorse and repaid the money and always been frank about what you did.
“You lost your employment as a result of this but have turned yourself around and are moving forward again and there is no evidence of further dishonesty during the time it has taken for this case to come to court.”