Lincs: Club treasurer stole thousands of pounds from gaming machines

Gainsborough Standard In Court logo
Gainsborough Standard In Court logo

A workingmen’s club treasurer stole thousands of pounds from the organisation after falling into debt with payday loans.

Mark Wilkinson, described as an alcoholic who drinks up to four bottles of wine a day, pocketed cash from gaming machines at Castle Ward Workingmen’s’ Club in Kingsley Street, Lincoln.

Andrew Vout, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Wilkinson also fiddled his wages paying himself extra amounts which he was not entitled to.

Wilkinson was caught out after club committee members became concerned about an apparent drop in takings from the machines.

Mr Vout said: “The takings were monitored and it was clear after some investigation that he was taking some money from the machines.”

Wilkinson was confronted by club officials but denied doing anything wrong. He was suspended from his post and police were called in.

Later when he was interviewed by officers he confessed saying he had debts with Wonga.com and with the tax authorities and had spent the money on drink.

Wilkinson said: “I know I shouldn’t have done it. It got to the point where I was drinking so much.”

Mr Vout said “This was the theft spanning a year of £7,500. He was employed by Castle Ward Workingmen’s Club and had been for many years. At the time he was the treasurer. His responsibilities included paying wages and dealing with the proceeds of the gaming machines. The club depended in the large part on the decency and trustworthiness of the people working with it.”

Wilkinson, 54, of Hardwick Place, Ermine East, Lincoln, admitted theft of £7,500 from his employer between April 2014 and April 2015. He was given an eight month jail sentence suspended for two years with a six month alcohol treatment requirement and a 15 day rehabilitation activity requirement to help address his debt problems.

Judge John Pini QC said: “This was a gross abuse of trust. What led you into these offences it seems to me is very clear. You became an alcoholic. Even now you are drinking two to four bottles of wine a day. Be under no illusion. If you commit any further offences in the next two years the suspended sentence will be activated.”