A north-east golf club manager who embezzled more than £12,000 to pay off a drug debt has avoided jail.
Andrew Jones, 34, was employed as a manager at Alford Golf Club when he took advantage of having access to the club’s bank account by transferring large sums of cash to himself on two occasions.
Jones, who had racked up debts due to issues, including a cocaine problem, then resigned from his role before the club discovered the discrepancies and police were contacted.
Fiscal depute Lucy Simpson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court: “On July 10 2017 the accused was employed to work at the locus as a manager of the golf club.
“Part of his duties included paying staff. He had access to the club bank account.
“On two occasions during the dates libelled the accused made unauthorised transactions from the golf club bank account to his own bank account.
“The total sum of money transferred to the accused’s bank account was £12,185.
“A short time later the accused resigned as the manager of the golf club and these discrepancies were noticed and the police were contacted.”
Jones, whose address was given in court as Oakdene Way, Leeds, previously pled guilty to embezzlement between August 25 2017 and September 11 2017.
Jones had been expected to appear in court in person for the sentencing hearing, and had driven up from Leeds, but was turned away by court staff when he arrived due to Covid fears.
It emerged Jones had been suffering from coronavirus symptoms and had taken a test and isolated for more than two weeks.
But as he had not received his test result he was forced to wait outside the court building while his solicitor Ian Woodward-Nutt represented him inside.
Mr Woodward-Nutt told the court: “He is a 34-year-old man who has never been in trouble before.
“Of course, Mr Jones appreciates that his conduct is so serious that one option available to the court would be a custodial sentence.
“This is a man whose life had effectively fallen to pieces due to a combination of misuse of alcohol and cocaine. His marriage had been suffering. He found employment at Alford Golf Club but unbeknownst to those around him in Scotland he was struggling with multiple substance misuse problems.
“These problems brought with them significant debt. He was in a very precarious financial situation and continues to be in that situation.
“Against that background, he succumbed to temptation and embezzled the sum referred to.
“This is a man who has had a good career up until this fall from grace in 2017.”
Sheriff Philip Mann imposed a community payback order as an alternative to a custodial sentence, with 18 months supervision and 225 hours of unpaid work.