A Working Men’s Club secretary who siphoned off nearly £3,000 into his own bank account to help ease his ‘dire’ financial problems has avoided jail.
Derek Barden held the ‘highly responsible’ role at the Rishton club for 18 months but was caught out after an audit of the accounts in October last year, a court heard.
The 56-year-old was found to have transferred £2,900 into his personal account and was then sent three letters from the club demanding an explanation.
Barden, of Knowles Street, Rishton, pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court to theft and was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work.
David Clarke, prosecuting, told the court that the club account was used to ‘pay suppliers and buy beer’ and there was ‘no reason why that money should have been transferred’.
When Barden was challenged by the club he said he would pay the money back.
However when that didn’t happen he was sent two further warning letters before the police were alerted.
Mr Clarke said when arrested Barden initially ‘implied’ the club treasurer also had control of the accounts and that the ‘transfer must have been a mistake by one of them’.
However at the end of the police interview he confessed to the theft.
The court heard how Barden was unemployed after his struggling business went into liquidation.
Mr Clarke said Barden was in a ‘dire state’ financially and that the £2,900 would help his mortgage payments.
He told officers that once he received his pension he ‘intended to pay the money back’.
The prosecutor said the theft was aggravated because he held a position at the Commercial Street club which had a ‘high…
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