THE general manager of the Falcon Hotel, Settle, stole bottles of wine together worth more than £200 to drink in his room after falling out with the owners, heard Skipton magistrates.

Andrew Massey, 45, worked at the hotel in March for less than three weeks after being placed there by a London-based management agency, the court heard on Friday (june 20).

He had been employed by the company to work alongside the owner, managing director, Richard Atherton, to turn it from a bed and breakfast into a hotel.

But he had found it difficult, the relationship had broken down with Mr Atherton and he drunk the wine to combat stress.

The court heard that Mr Atherton had concerns about Massey, that he had smelt of alcohol and had disappeared for periods of time to his room.

On his last day, on March 28 he had walked out with a rucksack saying he couldn't do it anymore.

Several bottles of empty wine belonging to the hotel were found in his room, including in a drawer and behind a bathroom door.

Massey, who admitted theft by employee between March 10 and March 28, had been in the hotel business for around 25 years and had never done anything wrong before, the court was told.

Megan Waldron, in mitigation, said Massey had been sent by his agency to work alongside Mr Atherton to develop the Falcon as a hotel.

She said Massey accepted he had taken the wine and that he had left abruptly without having making arrangements with the hotel, but he did not have a drink problem. He remained employed by the agency, but a conviction might make future employment difficult.

Massey, of Kirkdale Manor, Highfield Lane, Nawton, York, was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs of £85 and victims surcharge of £20. He will also have to pay compensation to the hotel of £226.35.