A WARRANT has been issued for the arrest of a convicted thief after he failed to turn up at court.
Paul Robinson, 49, had been warned he faced a possible jail sentence after stealing almost £4,000 from a South Tyneside pub where he had been due to start work.
Robinson pleaded guilty to a charge of theft from the Ben Lomond pub, in Grange Road, Jarrow, at the court on March 7 and was due to return for sentencing yesterday.
But a warrant was issued yesterday afternoon after he failed to make the morning court date.
Robinson was being trained to start work as a supervisor at the pub by his girlfriend, an assistant manager.
On three occasions, he was trusted to deposit the takings from the bar – a total of £3,877.94 – at the nearby post office, but the cash was never paid in.
He was caught out after an audit into missing cash proved the discrepancies fell on the days he was handling cash.
Robinson, of Salisbury Street, Gateshead, said at the earlier court hearing that his girlfriend had known nothing of his plans and that he had taken the money to pay off loan sharks.
The previous court hearing was told that Robinson had a former conviction for stealing from an employer.
Charles Weidner, defending, told the earlier court hearing: “He borrowed money five years ago from individuals who operate money-lending schemes outside of the mainstream.
“He paid off some, and was told that he didn’t need to repay the rest.
“However, he was visited by one of the men, who said he needed to settle the debt.
“The money-lenders made threats to him and said they knew where his pregnant daughter lived.”
Mr Weidner told the previous court hearing that Robinson still owed about £4,000 and was worried what the loan sharks would do to him and his family if he didn’t pay them.
Magistrates chairman Barry Hunter had told Robinson that a jail sentence was being considered.
He said: “The starting point for sentencing you for this offence is custody.
“We know from your record that this isn’t the first time you have done this, which makes it worse.
“But we feel a report from the probation service would be beneficial to give us the full background of the offence and you.
“But be under no illusions, you are looking at a custodial sentence here.”