Former Buxton pub manager faces jail over theft of £32,000 worth of takings

A former High Peak pub manager is due to be sentenced after he admitted stealing £32,000 worth of takings.

James Stirling, 58, banked cash into his own account and also fitted a card machine that fed takings straight to him.

Stirling was placed in charge of the New Inn, Buxton, in April 2017. Photo: Jason Chadwick.

Stirling was placed in charge of the New Inn, Buxton, in April 2017. Photo: Jason Chadwick.

A court heard he stole from two Robinsons Brewery-owned pubs he was placed in charge of - the New Inn at Buxton and later the Friendship Inn at Glossop.

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When bosses became suspicious of Stirling, the amputee fled. It took police a year to track him down and arrest him.

When interviewed, Stirling answered "no comment". He pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Derby Crown Court and is due to be sentenced tomorrow (Tuesday).

Abigail Hill, prosecuting, said Stirling was put in charge of the New Inn in April 2017 and then the Friendship Inn a few months later.

She said as part of his duties it was his responsibility to bank the cash each day from both pubs.

But at the end of August, his employer noticed that money was not being deposited in the required bank accounts.

Mrs Hill said: “He tried to contact the defendant to ask why the money was not being banked but could not contact him.

“On September 15, he (the owner) attended the New Inn. He saw one of the barmaids who told him she had been banking the money into an account that had been provided to her by the defendant.

“She said the last time she saw him was two days before, when he arrived at the pub and removed the takings from the safe.

“The owner returned on September 18 after being told the defendant was going to be there but Mr Stirling had been and gone for two hours, having removed the takings again from the safe.

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“It was also discovered the defendant had put a new card machine at the New Inn and the takings from it were going into one of his accounts.”

Mrs Hill said Stirling was not heard from again until December 2017 when the owner sent a text message to him saying he was contacting the police.

She said Stirling, who the court was told currently lives in a hospital in Preston, was not arrested and questioned until September 2018.

Mrs Hill said the total loss to both pubs was £32,000 and that Stirling had 26 previous convictions for more than 100 offences, including theft and fraud.

Judge Robert Egbuna adjourned the sentencing as the court's custody suite does not have wheelchair access.

Instead, Stirling will appear via videolink from St Mary’s Wharf police station, in Chester Green.

Judge Egbuna told Stuart Lody, Stirling’s barrister: “He is a serial thief. He steals from his employer and it is a significant amount of money.

“He is a man in his 50s with a terrible record for fraud and theft and he is not stopping.”

A version of this story first appeared on Derbyshire Live