A man who stole from a Lancashire working men’s club he had worked for since the age of 14 has been ordered to pay £11,000 back.
Judge Pamela Badley told James Barker, who was employed in a financial role at Jubilee Working Men’s club in Slyne Road, Morecambe, she would suspended his 12 month jail term for 24 months.
However she ordered him to do 100 hours unpaid work and pay a £100 victim surcharge, saying the small institution had been “greatly affected” by his dishonesty.
Barker, 23, of Barley Cop Road, Lancaster, nearly brought the historic social club to a halt, and it almost had to cease trading after 80 years.
He had replied: “I can tell you now its not in my a*se pocket” when questions were asked of the club’s state of affairs.
But he admitted theft following a two year probe.
Barker had worked firstly as a glass collector then bar person and then in February 2011 he started part time, elected as the club secretary, before helping with bookkeeping when another member of staff fell ill.
His actions meant other staff became the targets of rumour and gossip after it came to the club’s attention in August 2013 there were issues with the accounts and a discrepancy with what they had expected to be shown in the ledger or accounts and the frequency with which money was being taken to the bank.
The court heard the committee had to bring in an accountant, and it was discovered cheques and money the club had received had not been recorded in ledgers.
Barker, who had been gambling, had been paying himself an extra wage not authorised by the club, overpaying himself £2,145 between March and August 20.