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Pub landlord ‘overlooked’ handing over £1,000 of charity cash

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:05 15 June 2020

Jason Staff (left) leaving Norwich Magistrates Court. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Jason Staff (left) leaving Norwich Magistrates Court. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Archant

A pub landlord has told a court that troubles at one of his venues led to more than £1,000 raised for a cancer charity “being overlooked” - but insisted he did not intend to steal it.

One of the posts from the Robin Hill pub's Facebook page about the Macmillan headshave and barbeque. Jason Staff is claiming that he had raised more than £1,000 for the charity. Picture: ArchantOne of the posts from the Robin Hill pub's Facebook page about the Macmillan headshave and barbeque. Jason Staff is claiming that he had raised more than £1,000 for the charity. Picture: Archant

Jason Staff, landlord of the Robin Hood on Anchor Street in Norwich, organised a head shave and barbecue in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support in June 2018, raising £1,003.35.

However, after the cash was not paid to the charity, it took him to court over the unpaid amount and in February he was found guilty of fraud.

The prosecution, brought by Macmillan, related to both his failure to pay the money and the displaying of a sign with the charity’s logo thanking pub patrons for their donations.

Appearing for sentencing at Norwich Magistrates Court on Friday, Staff, 55, of Mile Cross Road, Norwich, said he had always intended to pay Macmillan, but he was distracted by a costly row with tenants of Allen’s in Great Yarmouth, which he also owns.

He told the court: “At the time I had a lot going on, particularly with my other business in Great Yarmouth. I had to throw my tenants out and they then came back and destroyed the building.

“Between trying to repair the building as a whole, things like this got overlooked.”

Staff said the row had cost him “in excess of £4,000”.

The amount raised from the head shave and barbecue went unpaid until March of this year, when Staff sent it in full, but he insisted he had no intention of stealing it.

He added: “If I had intended to steal the money I would never have registered with Macmillan as a fundraiser to begin with and would not have advertised the fundraising widely on social media - which I did.

“Not even the stupidest criminal in the world would do that.”

Chairman of the bench Linda Lambert handed Staff two six-month jail sentences for the two counts of fraud, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to pay the charity’s costs of bringing the case to court - £4,765.10 - and a £115 victim surcharge.

Bob Browell, counter fraud manager at Macmillan Cancer Support said: “It is vital that the public have confidence that their donations are going to help people living with cancer and we pleased with the outcome of this trial.

“While we have robust systems in place to prevent wrongdoing and fraud is thankfully rare, we take any abuse of our supporters’ trust extremely seriously and will continue to take action where necessary.

“We remain hugely grateful to everyone who is raising money to help us provide vital cancer support services at a time when people need us more than ever.”


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