Former London House pub manager in Rugby stole nearly £5,000

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A former town centre pub manager who claimed he was owed holiday pay and wages stole nearly £5,000 from his employer.

Kevin Eagles was taken on as a part-time member of the bar staff at the London House in Chapel Street, Rugby, and provided free entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays in exchange for free accommodation, a court heard.

Twenty-nine-year-old Eagles pleaded guilty before Nuneaton magistrates last Wednesday to stealing £4,700 cash, belonging to Sandra Watkins and Marstons Brewery, at Rugby on or about January 7.

Prosecutor Naila Iqbal said Sandra Watkins was the licensee. Eagles joined the bar staff in May 2012.

“His working hours increased. If he provided free entertainment in the pub on Friday and Saturday he could then live on the premises free of charge.

“He was later promoted to manager of the pub.”

Miss Iqbal said the licensee was made aware on January 7 that Eagles was no longer at the pub, where the office had been “trashed” and documents destroyed.

A typed letter from the defendant was discovered, in which he gave four weeks notice “which I am taking as holiday due to stress reasons.”

A second document, an invoice, claimed outstanding holiday pay and wages.

Miss Iqbal said £1,288.25 of stock was unaccounted for and further cash was missing from the office.

Eagles moved to Scotland. “It was his honest belief that he was owed more than outstanding holiday pay.

“He admitted to taking £4,700 on or about January 7 this year. He believed it to be seven or eight days’ takings.

“He denies taking any stock or any more money.”

Mitigating, solicitor Nazir Vania said his client had not been paid for three weeks. “The reason he had not been paid was because there were deficiencies in money.”

Mr Vania added: “It became quite clear that Mr Eagles was invaluable to Ms Watkins. She suggested he should be promoted [which he was].

“He found himself working approximately 80 hours per week.

“Matters came to a head when he formed a relationship. His partner did not see eye to eye with Ms Watkins.”

In December, the licensee held a party at the pub. “It was apparent she had had too much to drink and Mr Eagles had to take over. It became apparent there were a lot of deficiencies in stock.

“Deficiencies in accounts were primarily her fault because he [Eagles] had nothing to do with them.”

Mr Vania said Eagles cooked meals at the pub over the Christmas. On New Year’s Eve he received a message that everyone who worked there was being sacked.

“He thought money was actually owed to him. He made sure £150 was left by the fire exit for the other staff members. He felt genuinely aggrieved at the way he had been treated.

“He was very aggrieved, he was angry and he did something rather foolish. It was said he got rid of some books, but he denied this.”

Mr Vania described what happened as “the actions of a demotivated employee.”

He said Eagles was now in rented accommodation and used the money he stole to start a new life in Scotland.

Unemployed Eagles, of Oak Road, Cumbernauld, was sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work, and told to pay £470 compensation and £60 victim surcharge. No order was made for costs.

Presiding magistrate Bryan Riddleston told him: “We have taken account of your early guilty plea and your previous good character.”