Jail for pub worker who frittered £18,000 he was mistakenly paid

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A disgraced pub worker who gambled £18,000 mistakenly paid into his bank account has been jailed for eight months.

Father-of-one Christopher Jones, 22, of Alder Grove, Ingol, Preston, was also sentenced for further offences after leading police on a deadly 80mph chase while high on a cocktail of whiskey and cocaine.

The qualified chef had been employed by the Ancient Oak pub on Merry Trees Lane, Cottam, Preston Crown Court heard.

It's then brewery, Mitchell and Butlers plc, had another employee of the same name who was supposed to receive a severance payment of £18,000.

However a clerical error was made by the firm and Jones was paid the money on February 13 last year.

Prosecuting, Stella Massey said: "He was informed by his manager the overpayment had been made. Jones told him the money had been sent and he was suspended on full pay.

"He attended four investigation meetings in March and during those he said he thought the money was inheritance money from his grandad and he had gambled it away.

"On the last occasion he said: 'Forget the disciplinary - I quit."

" No attempt has been made to pay the money back."

The court heard his bank account showed he had withdrawn £400 and £500 at a time. Mitchell's later withheld unpaid wages of £931.09.

In a separate case Jones admitted dangerous driving, drink driving, possession of crack cocaine, driving without insurance or a licence.

Miss Massey told the court two officers in a marked BMW saw a Citroen Saxo speeding down London Road in Walton-le-Dale, at 3.15am on February 20.

She said: "The officers illuminated their lights and followed it. It increased its speed to over 70mph.

"It then entered Higher Walton village at those speeds and on Higher Walton Road increased its speed to 80mph."

The court heard it took the wrong side of a mini roundabout, headed towards Bamber Bridge and lost control on a bend on Chorley Road, crashing into and writing off a parked car.

Jones struggled got get away and was wrestled to the floor by the officers, who found a small bottle of vodka in his top and a kinder egg with a snap bag of cocaine.

Defending, Darren Lee-Smith said he had turned to drugs after he separated from his partner, who he has reconciled with. He added: " He knew it was wrong. In my submission he was a young man who quite clearly made a poor decision."

Judge Pamela Badley said: "I have to consider not only you and the effect of what you did but also the public and the fact this car was driven in this way could easily have resulted in real problems for other road users and indeed yourself and your passenger.

Addressing the theft she added: "You spent every penny of it - you gambled it - and you took it over a period of time, and of course it had an effect upon your employers. You knew it was coming from the coffers of a very small business."

He was banned for three and a half years and must take an extended driving test.