Former Billing Aquadrome employee jailed for £300,000 theft

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A former finance manager at Billing Aquadrome who siphoned more than £300,000 from the park’s accounts has been jailed for six years.

Andrew Stockwin stole the money over a 28-month period by transferring it into two of his own bank accounts, and disguising the transactions as payments to suppliers.

Northampton Crown Court heard yesterday that Stockwin had a long history of similar offences.

Stockwin, aged 48, of Lavendon, near Olney, stole £301,640 from the aquadrome between May 2008 and September 2010. He admitted two charges of theft.

Stockwin, who was paid a salary of £45,000, plus a £14,000 bonus, as been in prison since September 2010.

Jenna Allen, prosecuting, said: “This defendant was employed at Billing Aquadrome in March 2008. On September 29, 2010, he submitted a letter of resignation, saying he was starting a new business venture with his wife, and needed to give it his full attention.

“The real reason was that he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for a previous fraud.

“This matter came to light following his departure when a new leisure complex was finalised within Billing Aquadrome. A contractor complained they hadn’t received full payment, but the accounts said they had been paid.”

The court heard the fraud Stockwin was sentenced for in 2010 was for thefts of amounts between £1,000 and £47,000, and the total ran into “hundreds of thousands of pounds”.

He was also convicted on 11 counts of false accounting in 1998 and was jailed for five years.

Phillippa Ellis, mitigating, said Stockwin’s first offences in the 1990s related to paying bonuses based on manipulated performance figures.

She said: “He tried to make himself look better to his wife at the time. He was getting into a great deal of debt.

“On release, unfortunately his habits did not change. He did not want to lose face and made the foolish decision to start acting in this manner.”

Sentencing Stockwin, Judge Rupert Mayo said: “Looking at your criminal record, I have formed the firm view that you are a selfish man who puts your own desires before anyone else’s. You are an intelligent man who abused your position of trust.

The total sentence was one of six years and three months –two years and nine months for the first theft, and three years and six months for the second.