A HOTEL accountant caught stealing nearly £30,000 from his employer is set to lose his home following a proceeds of crime investigation conducted by the North West Regional Asset Recovery Team.
At an earlier hearing at Preston Crown Court, Norman Hetherington of Skipton New Road, Foulridge, admitted 18 offences of theft and asked for a further nine to be taken into consideration. The offences were all committed over an 18-month period during 2007 and 2008 at The Pines Hotel near Chorley. Hetherington was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment and a confiscation investigation was ordered.
The RART found that Hetherington, at the time of the offences, was living in a 400,000 bungalow and owned a Morgan sports car, a Volkswagen Tiguan 4x4, a Mini Cooper and an MG. He was clearly living well beyond his means and committed crime to maintain and fund his elaborate lifestyle.
During the confiscation hearing at Preston Crown Court, it was revealed Hetherington's benefit from crime amounted to 312,000. He has been ordered to pay back 219,000 within six months or face a further two years and nine months in prison.
The Pines Hotel will receive 30,000 from the confiscated funds in compensation.
Det. Chief Insp. Lee Halstead said: "This has been a protracted confiscation case conducted by the RART but we are delighted with the final outcome. Not only have the victims of crime received direct compensation for their losses but the offender has been stripped of all his previous ill-gotten gains. This case should be seen as a strong deterrent to those considering committing crime and be reassuring to the communities of Lancashire that crime does not pay."