A PUB manager who buckled under stress stole more than £9,000 takings and fled Blackpool, a court was told.
Andrew Gresswell walked into a police station five years later to confess his crime.
Gresswell, 54, pleaded guilty to theft while manager of the Victory pub in Caunce Street, Blackpool.
Sara Dodd, prosecuting, said the defendant had worked for Thwaites brewery from 2000, becoming manager of the Victory in October 2003.
On October 17, 2005, Gresswell went to his now ex-wife and told her he was leaving. The pub safe was found open and all of the takings – £9,301 – had gone.
Then in October of last year Gresswell went to a police station and fully admitted taking the money.
He spoke of having taken it to pay off gambling debts and make a fresh start.
Miss Dodd added: “The defendant said in interview that at times he was stopped by the police while driving and the like. But it was never picked up he was wanted.”
Gresswell, now of Irene Avenue, Stoke-on-Trent, was a man of previous good character.
Michael Hayton, defending, said the pub had been a problem one which Gresswell managed to turn round. He had turned it into a sports bar, with pool and darts teams.
The brewery put up the prices and this made it difficult for him. The defendant ended up gambling and drinking too much.
His domestic circumstances had broken down and his doctor warned he was a ‘stroke waiting to happen’.
Mr Hayton told the court: “He was struggling financially. He had foolishly loaned money to others.
“The final straw was when the pub was burgled and several hundred pounds stolen.
“He got to the stage where he buckled due to the pressure he was under.
“He set up afresh in the Stoke area. He was nervous and terrified of coming back to Blackpool.
“He’s a hard working man who did something stupid five years ago”.
Gresswell was given a sentence of 18 weeks prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months supervision. He was told to pay the full amount of compensation.
Judge Michael Byrne told him: “I find it quite extraordinary only now in 2011 are you being sentenced for this offence committed in 2005.”