A MAN scared he would be beaten up by loan sharks has admitted stealing money from the pub where he worked.
Lee Anthony Roberts, 35, was a duty manager at Wetherspoon’s in Wrexham when he took £3,780 while cashing up on his own one evening.
He claimed he committed the theft at The Elihu Yale on Regent Street in desperation because loan sharks were threatening him with violence if he did not make a repayment of £2,000 by December 4.
Wrexham Magistrates Court heard Roberts, now living in Oldham, was facing debts of more than £20,000 and had applied for and been granted a personal loan of £3,000, which would cover the installment to the loan sharks.
But the transfer did not go through in time so he decided to take the money from his employer and repay it before it was ever missed, once he received his loan.
Matthew Ellis, prosecuting, said: “On December 3 the defendant was responsible for cashing up and depositing the takings in the safe.
“According to paperwork it appeared a second member of staff had signed to confirm he had done this but she denied it and CCTV confirmed he had been on his own.”
But the loan deposit was delayed again and Roberts, who had been working at the pub since June last year, was caught out when security staff visited the pub to collect the takings.
Mr Ellis added: “Staff tried to contact him to find out what had happened but couldn’t and he was later arrested at Heathrow airport as he returned to the country from Thailand.”
Stephen Warburton told the court his client was not trying to justify his actions but re-iterated his fear he would be attacked by loan sharks if he did not pay them.
“He always intended to pay the money back.
“But when he realised he wasn’t going to get the loan in time to replace what he had taken from Wetherspoon’s he used the rest of the money to go to Thailand.
“He came back six days later though when his family told him the police were looking for him.”
The court heard Roberts had since moved away from the area because he was so scared of what the loan sharks might do to him.
Roberts was given conditional bail and the hearing was adjourned until January 30 for sentencing.