A crooked former social-club manager has been jailed for defrauding his employer out of thousands of pounds.
Adrian Loveday, 49, had been trusted to cash up and bank takings at Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre and Sports Club, York Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Marte Alnaes said that Darren Robson, the director of the sports and social club in York, entrusted Loveday with cash takings, banking and the day-to-day running of the business as part of his managerial role.
Loveday was also responsible for staff rotas, wages, completing daily cash sheets and putting money in the club’s safe.
In January 2020, Mr Robson went away for a few weeks’ holiday and gave instructions for Loveday to complete the cash sheets and bank the week’s takings.
However, on 7 February, the owner was informed by a woman connected to the club that no money had been banked for days. As a result, Mr Robson had to transfer his own money into the business account to pay back the VAT.
Mr Robson tried in vain to contact Loveday and when he finally got in touch with him on 13 February, Loveday gave “numerous excuses” about what was going on with the cash sheets and the unbanked money.
Loveday told his boss he had lost £1,000 of float money from the safe and was sacked on the spot.
When Mr Robson returned from holiday four days later, he noticed glaring discrepancies between the cash sheets and the money that had been banked.
The cash sheets revealed that over a five-week period between 9 January and 19 February, some £5,645 should have been banked, but only about £3,300 had been deposited. It meant the club’s coffers were more than £2,200 down.
Loveday put this down to staff payments and other expenses but there were no receipts to prove this. He also exaggerated the amount of money that had been paid out to a named company.
Some club members said they had paid him for group activities such as badminton, but this wasn’t banked either.
One woman said she had paid £240 of subscriptions for Hoola workshops and another member said they had paid £225 to hire the sports hall for kids’ parties.
Another had paid money for children’s tennis and one man had given Loveday £223 for a charity called Sink or Swim on the understanding that it would be used as such.
Ms Alnaes said that during Loveday’s audacious fraud, there were no takings from the pool table and jukebox which should have yielded £220 but were “empty”.
Failed to attend trial
Loveday, who moved to Bond Street, Stoke-on-Trent, later sent an emailed apology for his duplicity which he said had been brought on by a gambling addiction.
He was arrested in April last year and was initially charged with defrauding the sports club out of £13,764.
He denied the allegation and a trial was set down for June at York Crown Court, but he failed to turn up and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
He then failed to answer bail at a magistrates’ court in Staffordshire in August and was arrested again the following day when he was remanded in custody after being at large for 38 days.
Following protracted court proceedings of his own making, Loveday finally admitted one count of fraud on the basis that he had stolen £6,920 and was not responsible for missing stock. The prosecution accepted his plea and Loveday appeared for sentence today.
In a victim statement read out in court, Mr Robson said he had had to cut short his holiday after learning of Loveday’s crimes and had been affected financially to the extent that the business still had bills to pay despite going into his overdraft.
He said it had been “very difficult” to recover financially and he now wanted to sell the business because Loveday’s betrayal had led to a great deal of stress and “tainted our lives so much”. It had also caused rifts within the club.
Defence barrister Victoria Smithswain said Loveday had never been in trouble before and was suffering from numerous debilitating health conditions.
Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, jailed Loveday for 12 months.