Worksop man's fraud trial begins

A COMPANY director stole more than £60,000 from his firm over three years, a court heard on Monday.

Worksop man David Clarke, 56, admitted his own dishonesty when giving evidence against another director, Paul Varty, in a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

Varty, 48, of Eakring Road, Wellow, near Ollerton, denies stealing more than 150,000 from Mansfield-based Midland Preventative Maintenance (MPM).

The Ollerton man was the finance director and effectively managing director, while Clarke was sales director before he left the company in 2001, said Martin Hurst, prosecuting.

It is alleged the total sum of more than 200,000 was stolen over a period of six years up to September 2003.

The prosecution claimed Varty was living way beyond his means. Cheques were written out to cash, and the company credit card was used to make regular withdrawals from cash machines, said Mr Hurst.

Clarke, of Central Avenue in Worksop, admitted his involvement last October. He told the court that he had lied to the police at first because he wanted to avoid getting into trouble.

But he denied he was telling lies in his evidence against Varty, in order to get a lighter sentence.

"I put my hands up and admitted that what I did was wrong," he said. "No, I'm not prepared to lie now. I swore on the Bible, I go to church. I told the truth."

Asked if he was still saying it was mostly Varty's fault, he replied: "He did the accounts. He was the leader of the company."

Varty told him he would account for the money as company expenses, Clarke said, but admitted he too had been dishonest and greedy at the time.

The court heard MPM went into receivership, but other people have quite properly continued the business - which involves countrywide monitoring of the condition of machinery - under another name.

Varty denies 14 counts of theft and one of false accounting. The trial, which began last week, is expected to last three weeks.