Accounts manager found his day-to-day living expenses ‘very high’
By Camden People | Friday, August 06, 2010, 08:00
THE accounts manager at a Tunbridge Wells hotel has admitted stealing thousands of pounds from his employers.
Simon Ashworth, 53, stole £8,500 from the Hotel du Vin over a three-month period earlier this year.
Crown prosecutor James Nichols said: “He was clearly in a position of trust and he breached that trust.”
Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court was told a routine audit had been planned by the hotel owners, but alarm bells went off when Ashworth failed to come into work.
The story became more bizarre when he e-mailed his bosses, saying he was leaving for Cyprus to “re-evaluate” his life.
It was only at this point that the hole in the hotel’s accounts was discovered.
Ashworth, of Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, was contacted and interviewed and immediately admitted what he’d done.
He also admitted the offence in court where he was told it would be up to the crown court to seek compensation on behalf of the hotel for the money stolen.
Ashworth’s methods were revealed to the court as Mr Nichols told how the thief, who had spent his entire working life in the hotel business, was able to steal cash from the hotel that was meant to go to the bank, falsify records to show suppliers had been paid when they hadn’t and how he convinced some of the hotel’s guests to pay him in cash.
Representing Ashworth at court, solicitor Brian Ferris said his client was now “effectively unemployable”.
Mr Ferris told how Ashworth had signed himself up for a six month rental lease in Ealing and the job at Hotel du Vin was the only job he could find at that point.
He added: “He was commuting from London each day and finding his day-to-day expenses very high.
“This was not to fund an extravagant lifestyle or expensive cars. There was no gambling problem and he wasn’t keeping a mistress, or anything like that.”
Magistrates decided to send Ashworth to Maidstone Crown Court to be sentenced. In the meantime, he was bailed, ordered to surrender his passport and report to the Tunbridge Wells police station daily.