Pub boss accused of fraud paid for luxury holidays in cash

Holiday bookings totalling more than £7,000 were discovered by police when they searched the home of a pub manager accused of stealing £93,000 from his place of work.

Today a jury was told police found evidence that Liam Sanders spent thousands of pounds in cash on trips to Mexico and Iceland in 2018.

Liam Sanders, from Chatham, is accused of stealing £93,000 of takings from The Clipper pub in Dartford High Street. Picture: Facebook

The 32-year-old, of Port Rise, Chatham, is on trial for allegedly siphoning off the huge sum while he was general manager The Clipper in High Street, Dartford, between 2017 and 2018.

On the second day of his trial at the Nightingale Court at Mercure Great Danes Hotel in Maidstone, prosecutor Mark Hunsley described how officers searched Sanders home on June 19 last year.

He told the jury the agreed facts of the case, which included how two Thomas Cook holiday bookings and a TUI booking were found at Sanders’ home.

Mr Hunsley explained one booking, for an all-inclusive holiday at the Riu Vallarta in Mexico, was booked in May 2018 and paid off with two £800 cash payments and a third of more than £1,000 in cash.

The court heard how other holiday bookings were found for Cancun and Reykjavik in Iceland – both in July and November 2017.

Liam Sanders worked at The Clipper pub in High Street, Dartford, since August 2016. Picture: Google

Sanders, who worked at the pub, which is run by MFA Properties, since August 2016, was arrested and charged with fraud after originally admitting to stealing £9,700 from the establishment.

Sanders was confronted by directors at a meeting in February 2019 when it was discovered only six out of seven days’ takings were being cashed at the bank.

He originally denied the accusations, claiming the bank must have been at fault, but later that day confessed he had taken a day’s takings for the first four weeks of the year.

He paid back the full amount – £7,000 in cash the following day and the rest by bank transfer – within two weeks and was immediately sacked.

Following this, a police investigation was launched and more than 40 discrepancies or similar incidents of thousands of pounds of cash not being cashed at the bank were discovered.

During the first day of the jury trial on Monday, prosecutor Mark Hunsley said more than £93,000 had been stolen.

He said Sanders was responsible for paying the cash into the bank and the “same pattern” of a day’s takings not being taken to the bank had happened for nearly two years.

Mr Hunsley said: “More than £93,000 wasn’t paid into the bank account. This follows the same pattern on the week Mr Sanders had responsibility for it.

Liam Sanders, from Chatham, is accused of stealing £93,000 of takings from The Clipper pub in Dartford High Street. Picture: Facebook

“Police checked staff rotas and there was no other chance for someone to do this.”

MFA Group’s chief executive, Mehdi Afshar, told the court he had challenged Sanders over the missing cash.

After originally denying it, Sanders returned from lunch and admitted taking the money to “help his mother”, he said.

Mr Lyons questioned Mr Afshar as to how, over two years, more than 40 banking slips which should have been checked were not scrutinised.

He replied that the person in charge of that had been sacked for failing to notice the missing money.

The trial continues.

Chatham Courts Crime Dartford Kent Sean McPolin

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