Employee stole £21,000 to buy fancy dress items for stag do

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A trusted employee used some of the money he stole from a Sowerby Bridge firm to buy fancy dress items for a stag do, a court heard today.

During nearly six years of employment at tree consultancy company Crown Consultants Limited, Robert MacDonald pocketed almost £21,000 before his offending came to light and he confessed to his crimes.

Bradford Crown Court heard how the 35-year-old had started stealing regular amounts of money from the company’s accounts and the personal account of owner Ivan Button.

MacDonald, of Ladstone Towers, Sowerby Bridge, admitted the theft charge at an earlier hearing before magistrates and today Judge Colin Burn heard how some of the cash was used to buy items from Amazon.

In his police interview MacDonald told officers that some of them were fancy dress party items which he had purchased for a stag do he went on.

MacDonald, who now has a new job, said he was extremely sorry for what he had done and was ashamed of his actions.

When he initially confessed to stealing from the firm MacDonald suggested that it might only have been about £6,000 and his barrister Abigail Langford said he was shocked to discover that the total sum was just over £20,700.

Prosecutor Robert Stevenson said MacDonald would not have to face a further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act later this year.

Although Miss Langford said her client had run up some debts, Judge Burn suggested that the only explanation for MacDonald’s offending was greed.

The judge decided to suspend MacDonald’s 10-month prison sentence for two years, but the defendant will also have to do 275 hours unpaid work for the community.

“You can consider yourself very fortunate Mr MacDonald but you cannot expect a second chance,” the judge told him.