Plymouth steward theft trial jury told of club debts
A BAILIFF decided not to disconnect the power at a social club where a steward is accused of theft – because hundreds of people were watching England in a crunch World Cup football match.
Keith Williams, collecting a debt for electricity of £9,750, told Plymouth Crown Court there could have been a "riot" at the Saltram Club.
He said: "It was a delicate situation. I could see I was going to have a full-scale riot if I cut the power. There were 200 people on site in the middle of a World Cup football match."
Former club steward Tonia Bailey, 46, is accused of theft of more than £40,000 from the club and its members.
BUY ONE GET ONE FREE - Medium Cod, Chips & Mushy Peas at...View details
Simply Purchase a Medium Cod, Chips and Mushy Peas and receive another portion for FREE.
Sustainable Cod, Fresh Cut Chips & Proper Mushy Peas.
Visit Our Website for more information and offers
Terms: Offer valid only with this Voucher, 1 voucher Per Customer. Not for use with any other offer, Not transferable to other menu items
Contact: 01752 421044
Valid until: Thursday, June 27 2013
The court heard England were playing Slovenia when Mr Williams arrived at the St Judes club at about 2pm on June 23, 2010.
He told the jury he had obtained a court warrant over an unpaid electricity bill to British Gas.
Mr Williams said he had engineers and locksmiths standing by to cut off the power unless the debt was immediately paid.
He added he spoke to Bailey who paid him £6,500 from the office and another £500 from the till.
Mr Williams said he agreed with British Gas to postpone disconnection until the following morning pending payment of the balance.
He added he returned to the club at 9am the next day and Bailey gave him the remaining £2,750.
Earlier, former club president Philip Blatchford had told the jury that some people on the committee had used the Christmas savings of members to pay the bill.
Bailey, of the Barbican, denies stealing £19,231 from the Christmas thrift club between December 31, 2009 and November 27, 2010.
She also pleaded not guilty to the theft of £21,671.97 from the social club between January 1, 2010 and February 3, 2011.
Bailey also denies three matters of false accounting, where she is said to have falsely recorded the sums passing through club tills in February and March 2010.
The jury yesterday heard evidence on the state of the club's finances from 2008 to 2010.
Alan McSweeny, a partner in the club's former accountants Nigel Webster & CO, said in a statement that the club faced closure even before the alleged thefts emerged.
He added that he told the annual general meeting in April 2010 that the club had liabilities of about £70,000 based on the previous year's accounts.
Mr McSweeny said: "If the club's difficulties were not resolved, I believed it would close."
The company was not responsible for auditing the club's accounts.
The trial continues.