A MAN who stole more than £3,700 from a Wrexham pub fled to Thailand.
Lee Anthony Roberts, now living in the Oldham area, was given an 18-month community order at Wrexham Magistrates Court yesterday.
He previously admitted stealing £3,780 in cash from Wetherspoons in Regent Street on December 4 last year.
Christine O’Kane, prosecuting, said Roberts had been working at the pub as a duty manager.
He had fallen into financial difficulties and owed more than £20,000. That debt included a repayment which was due to loan sharks of £2,000.
Roberts didn’t have the cash and tried to get a loan from an internet company, but the payment didn’t come through on time.
As a result Roberts decided to steal pub money which should have been placed in a safe.
Roberts, 35, forged the signature of a colleague on a document confirming he had carried out his duties properly.
After his plan went wrong Roberts fled to Thailand.
However he returned to face his responsibilities and on arriving at Heathrow Airport was arrested.
Alun Williams, defending, said: “He apologised for his behaviour in interview and showed remorse
“If Lee Roberts is guilty of anything in addition to theft it is poor financial management.
“His situation is shocking, to an extent through no fault of his own.”
Mr Williams said Roberts had previously tried to make a career as a landlord at a tied pub which had resulted in him getting into debt. That situation had spiralled and he got involved with loan sharks.
“He is terrified the people originally after him will come after him again,” Mr Williams told the court.
Mr Williams said Roberts had gone to Thailand not through any great plan to escape but because it was the easiest available flight out of the country.
To go with his 18-month community order Roberts was given 18 months supervision and must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £85 costs, £60 surcharge and £3,780 compensation to Wetherspoon’s.