A BARNOLDSWICK man who stole more than £65,000 from his employer and spent it on family holidays has avoided going to prison – after his mum raided her pension to pay back the company.

The money Aaron Chadfield stole from cooker and stove makers Esse, where he worked as an account manager, was spent on a new car, to help get a house, to buy clothes and on several Amazon purchases.

The 35-year-old broke down in the dock as Judge Simon Newell made the decision to suspend his prison sentence, instead ordering him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Addressing Chadfield, of Ghyll Meadows, Barnoldswick, Judge Newell explained he wouldn’t send him to prison having been told about his personal circumstances, including the fact the money had now been paid back, he was of previous good character and he had continued to work in a new job despite the ongoing proceedings.

Prosecuting the case, Emma Kehoe said: “His employment began with the company in 2018 and towards October of 2019 he was dismissed because his work was deemed unsatisfactory and the accounts weren’t balancing out.

“During the course of his employment, as was the case with many employees, the company gave the defendant a credit card which they could use to purchase items for the business. When the defendant was asked to leave, there was a check done because he had not submitted receipts as he was required to. It was through this investigation it became apparent he had spent £65,835 on himself.”

Those investigating the matter soon discovered that Chadfield had spent the sum on several Amazon purchases, as well as to help buy a new car, fund holidays and to buy clothes. As a result, he was reported to the police and later arrested.

Ms Kehoe added: “To his credit he made full admissions from the very outset. He gave an explanation which he stands by, saying he found himself in difficulties. He had a wife and two children, and she was pregnant again. It started out with him using it for a car purchase and it escalated. He thoroughly accepted it all through the interview.”

Defending the 35-year-old, Paul Hodgkinson successfully argued that his client should be entitled to full credit for his guilty plea.

He also explained how due to imposed taxes, his mother had needed to pay closer to £100,000 to withdraw the £65,000 from her pensions to pay back for her son’s offending.

He said: “It is always a sad day when a 35-year-old appears in front of a court for the first time and losses his good character.

“The defendant has now changed his life and lifestyle and is working as a chef. He has taken a different course – he had a responsible job and a well-paid job, he doesn’t have that anymore.

“He has got his life in order and is living within his means now.”

Suspending Chadfield’s 20-month sentence for 18 months, Judge Newell said: “You are a man of no previous convictions, you have a family, small children and a loyal wife.

“You have picked yourself up from this arrest and got yourself back on an even keel. You’ve got your employment – it is not near the same type and doesn’t have the same financial trust but it gives you enough money to live off.

“Your mother has been immensely loyal and has put everything she has worked for and earned at your disposal to pay this money back.

“She had that money saved in her pension in order to look after herself in her retirement and it is not there now. She has put herself in great jeopardy to save you.”