Plymouth club steward denies theft of social club cash
A STEWARD has told a jury she did not steal almost £40,000 from a social club and its members.
Tonia Bailey, aged 47, said she just wanted the Saltram Club to be successful.
She told Plymouth Crown Court she "could not cope" with her workload and had made mistakes in the accounts. But she repeatedly denied taking club funds or the Christmas savings of members.
Andrew Maitland, prosecuting, suggested the lack of supervision by the club allowed her to steal thousands.
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He asked: "Was it not the case that between 2008 and 2010 you were a woman in considerable debt working for a committee which was idle and inefficient and did not want to get involved in the nitty-gritty of the club? Was it not a perfect opportunity to siphon off money from the club?"
She replied: "I have no idea. All that I was concerned about was that the club was successful."
Bailey told the court she had no previous experience of book-keeping when she took over the role at the club in 2003. She added she was not given any training and her job description was not changed.
Bailey admitted she had stopped filing PAYE and VAT returns in 2008.
She added she "literally could not cope" with the workload on top of her other duties.
Bailey admitted making mistakes, putting a wrong figure in a bar takings book and putting down the same performer's name twice for payment.
Bailey also admitted using £6,000 of members' Christmas savings to pay off an electricity bill in June 2010 after a bailiff threatened to cut off the power. But she said she had told club secretary Stuart Perkins about the pay-out the next day.
She said the rest of the money disappeared from the safe in late November, days before it was due to be paid back to savers.
The court has heard a financial investigator had identified £8,863 from unknown sources in the bank account she had with her husband and in her credit card account.
But Bailey said she paid herself part of her salary out of petty cash, plus an allowance for travel and laundry, on top of a standing order for her basic wage.
Bailey added her husband Tony had held gold-buying parties in 2010, which had earned £1,500 and £1,700. She also said she had been lent £1,500 by her mother.
Bailey denies stealing £19,231 from the Christmas thrift club between December 31, 2009 and November 27, 2010. Bailey pleaded not guilty to the theft of £19,477.47 from the social club between January 1, 2010 and February 3, 2011.
Bailey also pleads not guilty to one charge of false accounting.
The trial continues.