Screen East worker jailed for stealing �60,000

A disgraced former finance manager wept in the dock after he was jailed for two years for a string of thefts totalling more than �60,000 from his employer Screen East - despite him offering to pay all the cash back through the sale of his Norfolk home.

Melvyn Welton, 62, of Jasmine Gardens, Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, who earned �30,000 a year in his role, stole the cash from Screen East, the regional screen agency aimed at promoting film, media and culture in the region to try to cope with his mounting personal debt problems, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Mr Youell said the thefts had not been the cause of Screen East being wound up, as that was a result of a change of government policies.

However he said the audit. discovered �11,000 missing and when questioned Welton admitted the thefts and told police the figure was much more. It was eventually found to total more than �62,000, some of which Welton had already paid back by taking a cut in his salary.

Welton has since offered to pay back all the cash by selling the family home, which includes his wife's share of her half of the property.

Mr Youell said that Welton as finance manager was one of 12 members of staff and had a 'high level of responsibility' including looking after staff wages and the financial management of the company.

Welton admitted five counts of theft from Screen East between 2006 and 2010 and asked for 45 similiar offences to be taken into consideration.

Most Read

Jailing him for two years, Recorder Martin Davis-White accepted that Welton had admitted what his full involvement was.

'It is to your great credit that you assisted and identified how much money you had taken,'

He added: 'You also intend to sell your family home.'

Recorder Davis-White said that without his wife offering to give up her share from the sale of the house it would not be enough to repay the cash he had stolen.

Jonathon Morgans, for Welton said that he had suffered from a complete breakdown as a result of what happened.

'He is full of remorse and there has been a real physical deterioration.'

He said Welton's wife and family were standing by him.

'His wife is effectively going to gift him her half in the sale proceeds from their home so he can pay the full amount back.'

He said the house had been put on the market and sold in five days and the sale was now going through.

He said that Welton had personal debt problems at the time of the thefts and had been struggling to pay his mortgage.

'The money went on day-to-day living. It was not spent on luxuries or holidays.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter