‘Trusted’ hotel boss stole from colleagues

Ian Thorpe from the Black Diamond Hotel on York Street.
Ian Thorpe from the Black Diamond Hotel on York Street.

The secretary of a hotel association stole thousands of pounds of association funds when he got into debt.

Ian Thorpe was the trusted secretary of The Blackpool Combined Association (BCA) for 12 years before turning to crime.

The BCA comprised a group of hotels which paid into an account for items such as fund-raising for the Illuminations and arranging dinners and functions.

Thorpe, 63, of Grosvenor Street, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to theft of £2,620 between December 2011 and February 2012.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £1,000 compensation by Blackpool magistrates.

Martine Connah, prosecuting, said a BCA member heard Thorpe had money problems, so he went to the Black Diamond Hotel in the resort’s York Street, which the defendant rented.

A bailiff’s notice was pinned to the front.

The BCA bank account was then checked, and showed Thorpe had made unauthorised withdrawals totalling £2,620.

Stephen Duffy, defending, said his client had held the trusted position of BCA secretary for 12 years without a problem. Thorpe’s troubles began when, following a civil ceremony, his partner died 10 days into their honeymoon.

Thorpe could no longer cope with the 30-bed hotel he and his partner had run together, so he rented the smaller Black Diamond Hotel.

The place was in a poorer condition than Thorpe first thought. He has problems paying for repair work and the rent.

He took money from the BCA account, aiming to pay it back when his finances improved, but he had another bad season.