Former Norfolk Screen East finance boss admits theft

A disgraced former finance manager was warned he faced jail after he admitted a string of thefts totalling more than �60,000 from his employer Screen East.

Melvyn Welton, 62, of Jasmine Gardens, Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, admitted five counts of theft from Screen East between 2006 and 2010 and asked for 45 similiar offences to be taken into consideration when he appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday.

Welton, who attended the hearing supported by his wife and family, told the court he planned paying back the �62,150 he had stolen by selling his family home.

His barrister Jonathon Morgans said: 'He intends to pay back all the money, whatever happens to him.'

His case was adjourned for reports until May 6 but Judge Peter Jacobs warned him that a prison sentence was inevitable. 'However you got yourself in this mess only you know. This is a great deal of money.'

He said it would be to Welton's credit if he repaid the cash.

No one from Screen East was at the hearing – the company collapsed late last year. Until then it had an office at the Forum in Norwich.

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Screen East was a regional screen agency aimed at promoting film, media and culture in the region. It also promoted the East of England as a location for film and television production.

The 2008 film Dean Spanley, starring Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill and shot at locations including Norwich Cathedral, was the first to receive money from Screen East's �2.25m content investment fund.

christine.cunningham@archant.co.uk