Stealing referee ordered to pay thousands back

PUBLISHED: 09:32 07 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:32 07 April 2015

Straughan was sentenced at North Somerset Courthouse.

Straughan was sentenced at North Somerset Courthouse.

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A REFEREE has been given almost 10 years to pay back thousands of pounds he stole from a charitable football league.

Thief Michael Straughan was found guilty following a trial in February and was sentenced for his crimes at the end of March.

The 29-year-old worked as a six-a-side referee for Leisure Leagues last year but failed to bank the £2,321.60 he collected in players’ subs over the course of three weeks.

Straughan, during the trial, protested his innocence saying he accidentally left a fortnight’s worth of cash on the roof of his car when walking his daughter to school and it was stolen.

He said he then left the third week’s takings, of £800.60, for another referee to pick up at the Worle Community School pitches, however neither Leisure Leagues nor the other official agreed with Straughan’s protestations.

Magistrates found Straughan guilty of all three counts of theft on February 12, but his sentencing was adjourned..

Straughan, of Brompton Road, was ordered to pay £2,321.60 in compensation to Leisure Leagues – a firm which supports charities including Cancer Research UK and the National Blind Children’s Society.

He must also pay £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs plus carry out 200 hours of unpaid work over the next 12 months.

Magistrates have allowed Straughan to pay the £2,466.60 he owes at a rate of £5 per week.

Straughan was not a FA-qualified referee at the time of the offence and Leisure League’s competitions are not FA-affiliated.

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