Plumb Center manager stole to pay his mortgage

Published:  27 October, 2010

BRISTOL: A Wolseley branch manager stole £2620 from the company to pay his mortgage.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Mark Estcourt, manager of Plumb Center in Feeder Road, stole money intending to pay it back later.

Mr Estcourt, 34, of Speedwell Road, pleaded guilty to theft and was due to be sentenced yesterday. The recorder, Lou Sellick, adjourned the case for two weeks, to allow a cheque from Mr Estcourt's mother, covering the theft, to clear.

Eric Waley, prosecuting, told the court the shop supplied tools and equipment to the plumbing trade and Estcourt had been in his post some eight years.

Mr Waley said: "The regional security manager for Wolseley UK, the parent company of Plumb Centre, was aware that there was a problem with the cash taken that it was not banked or banked late.

"He investigated, and on 2 December last year he went to the branch and began an investigation. He spoke to the defendant and Mr Estcourt admitted stealing from the company.

"He went on to say that he stole because he was badly in debt."

The court heard Estcourt was suspended from his job immediately before being fired.

Mr Waley said: "He was interviewed by police and he admitted stealing £2620.86. He said he stole because he was in debt and behind with mortgage payments."

"He said he was using the money for a short-term, unauthorised loan and would have repaid it when he was able to raise a loan."

Rodney Wilson, defending, said the day after his client admitted the offence before Bristol magistrates on 5 October, his mother wrote a cheque to cover the company's loss.

Mr Wilson told on the court: "On 13 October I wrote a letter to the Crown Prosecution Service, seeking to pay the cheque. The cheque is in my hand, to be handed over today or we can send it to the Wolseley Group."

The recorder said he could not order Estcourt's mother to pay the money, but would adjourn sentence until 9 November for the cheque to be paid and clear.

Mr Estcourt was released on unconditional bail.

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