June 19 2013 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A Norwich salesman has fled the country before being sentenced after he was found guilty of stealing from his employers to feed his gambling addiction.
Paul McElroy pocketed thousands of pounds after asking East Anglian pub landlords, including one from Norwich, to pay cash up front for a new satellite television sports service.
McElroy, of Waterloo Road, Norwich, denied three counts of theft totalling £1,920 in the space of a week in 2011 when he was working from Digital Systems, a firm based in Pinhoe Road, Exeter.
He was found guilty following a trial at Exeter Crown Court last month and was warned by Judge Susan Evans QC that he was facing jail.
McElroy was bailed to his mother’s home at Shire Road, Bradwell, Great Yarmouth, to await sentence pending a pre-sentence report.
He promised he would surrender his passport within 24 hours but instead used it to fly out of Britain.
It is thought he may have gone to Indonesia, where he has been working.
Judge Erik Salomonsen yesterday issued a warrant at Exeter Crown Court for McElroy’s immediate arrest after Mr Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said it was thought he had fled.
He said: ”He flew out of the country on the day after he was granted bail on condition that he surrender his passport.
“I ask for a warrant for his immediate arrest.”
Judge Salomonsen said: ”He will be arrested at some stage when he returns from Indonesia or wherever he has gone and can then be sentenced.”
During a trial last month the jury heard how McElroy pocketed hundreds of pounds after asking pub landlords to pay cash up front for a new satellite television sports service.
He spent up to £700 a day on gambling and tried to blame his girlfriend when he was caught taking the cash.
He only started working for the firm a month before the thefts and was paid a £200 a week retainer and commission on new sales.
McElroy stole £480 paid by the landlord of The Chequers at Bungay in Suffolk, £840 from the Albion at Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, and £600 from the Leopard Inn at Norwich.
The defendant told the jury he had not taken the money but admitted he had a gambling problem at the time and had withdrawn £700 in one day which he spent at a bookmakers.
He said the money had been taken by his then partner Carol Gibbs and that he had covered up for her in his original police interviews.
Naturists are to be banned from a nationally-renowned Norfolk beach following complaints about anti-social behaviour committed in the area.
max temp: 24°C
min temp: 14°C