Former March pub manager gambled away £2k of takings to replace cash he’d stolen

PUBLISHED: 17:35 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:42 10 June 2010

Exterior view of the Coachmakers Arms in Station Road, March; Neil Rolfe ex manager in court stole takings from the pub

Exterior view of the Coachmakers Arms in Station Road, March; Neil Rolfe ex manager in court stole takings from the pub

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A PUB manager gambled away £2,000 of bar takings in a “moment of complete madness” as he tried to win enough cash to replace another £2,000 he had already stolen from his employers.

But Neil Rolfe had no luck at the bookies, and Wednesday he admitted stealing a total of £4,000 from the owners of the Coachmakers Arms in March.

The first discrepancy over the pub’s finances came to light when takings were not banked, prosecutor Emma Duckett told Fenland magistrates.

“He said he had either borrowed it to pay a debt or lent it to a friend,” said Miss Duckett.

His regional manager organised a repayment scheme, requiring Rolfe to repay £350 a week.

For the next two weeks the pub’s takings and an extra £350 was banked. But Rolfe failed to bank £1,800 takings the third week; and the pub failed to open.

“There was real concern,” said Miss Duckett. When contacted, Rolfe said he had “messed up,” and admitted gambling the week’s takings.

Miss Duckett added: “When arrested, Rolfe admitted taking £2,000 on two occasions, he said he had been struggling to pay wages, so used the takings. He had tried to gamble the second lot of money, to win back the first lot, but he was not successful.”

Pub owners Richbar Ltd accepted that Rolfe had stolen £4,000 and had repaid £700.

Rolfe, 60, of High Street, March, admitted stealing a quantity of money between March 29 and April 19.

Mitigating, solicitor David Chapple said: “This was a person in a position of trust, and on his own admission he stole less than £3,300 in three weeks.

“In a fit of madness he gambled £2,000, and inevitably lost the lot.”

Sentencing was adjourned until June 30.

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