A man who has been employed at a Lancashire working men’s club since the age of 14 nearly brought it to a halt after stealing £11,000.
James Barker, 23, of Barley Cop Road, Lancaster, was employed in a financial role at the Jubilee Working Men’s club in Slyne Road, Morecambe, which almost had to cease trading after 80 years, Preston Crown Court was told.
Barker later admitted theft following a two-year probe.
Barker had worked firstly as a glass collector then was elected as the club secretary before helping with bookkeeping when another member of staff fell ill.
Prosecuting, Richard Archer said: “It came to the club’s attention in August 2013 that there were issues with the accounts and a discrepancy with what they had expected to be shown in the ledger of accounts and the frequency with which money was being taken to the bank.”
The court heard they brought in an accountant to look at what had gone on, who found cheques and money the club had received had not been recorded in the ledgers.
Barker had also been paying himself an extra wage not authorised by the club, overpaying himself £2,145 between March and August 2013.
Judge Pamela Badley said: “This is a case where a small institution has been greatly affected by dishonesty.” She told him she was “not impressed” that he had waited two years to take action to pay the money back.
She adjourned his sentence until November 24.
Defending, Jonathan Lally said: “He needs to make some concrete proposals. This is an extremely sad case because he has a significant family link to the club.
“He has had gambling issues.”