Crooked Ipswich Town bar manager stole £1,600 from club during match with Hull City

Action from the Ipswich Town v Hull game in February.
Picture: Steve Waller

Action from the Ipswich Town v Hull game in February. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

An Ipswich Town bar manager employed despite eight previous dishonesty convictions stole £1,600 takings from the club during a game, a court heard.

An arrest warrant was issued for David James, of Luther Road, Ipswich, after he was found guilty in his absence of theft by employee.

James had denied the charge, but failed to turn up for his trial at the town’s magistrates’ court after being on conditional bail.

Magistrates heard the 29-year-old had waited until 16 hours after the theft to report he had been robbed at knifepoint by five men.

The offence took place on Tuesday, February 23, during Ipswich’s 0-1 defeat by Hull at Portman Road.

Prosecutor Carol Huston said James stole £1,635, but the money was never recovered.

At around 9.30pm the bar manager, who worked at the club for two years, collected the notes from various bars in the Cobbold Stand.

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He should have taken the money to his manager Timothy Claydon’s office.

However, he left the ground with the money, a set of keys, and a Motorola walkie-talkie worth up to £300, all belonging to Ipswich Town.

Catering manager Mr Claydon and a colleague subsequently searched for James fearing something may have happened to him.

The court heard James made a telephone call to police the following day at 1.36pm, 14 minutes before an officer went to his home and arrested him.

Magistrates were told James had convictions in 2010 for theft, and in 2012 for making a false representation and shoplifting.

He was also convicted of five shoplifting offences in early 2013.

Giving evidence Mr Claydon said James had been promoted to stand manager for the bars on a trial basis three months before the theft. He had previously been a bar team leader.

The court heard during James’ police interview he said two men had come out of the toilets and three more had also approached before robbing him.

One pulled out a flick knife from his jeans’ pocket. One of the others punched James to the back of the head. However, it was not hard and did not leave an injury.

James told the officer he initially froze and was in shock. He claimed he walked out and went home, accidentally keeping the keys and the club radio.

After arriving home he and a friend took a taxi to Asda to buy cigarettes.

Mark Holt, representing James, told magistrates: “There’s no direct evidence to say he has stolen these monies.

“It clearly would be foolhardy of Mr James to do this knowing that 100% suspicion would fall upon himself. His account takes some believing, but it can not be disproved.”

However, magistrates found James guilty of theft and issued a warrant for his arrest.

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