A BARMAID who embezzled thousands of pounds from a community social club has escaped a jail term.
Heather Smith pocketed almost £18,000 of takings over a ten-month period as she worked behind the bar at the Wiremill Social Club in Musselburgh, East Lothian.
Head bar steward Smith was in charge of banking the popular club’s bar takings but following a review of the accounts, it became apparent thousands of pounds was unaccounted for.
The social club’s treasurer confronted Smith, 57, about the missing cash and she was soon suspended and the police were called in to investigate.
Smith pleaded guilty to embezzling £17,958.17 from the Wiremill Social Club between July 22, 2013 and May 26, 2014, when she appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month and she returned to court for sentencing today.
Sheriff Peter McCormack sentenced Smith to a four-month Restriction of Liberty Order whereby she must wear an electronic tag and stay within her home address between the hours of 9pm and 7am.
Sheriff McCormack said: “The amount involved in the charge is a significant one and could well have attracted a custodial sentence so this would be an alternative to custody.
“I note from your circumstances there has been no effort, or no ability, to try and make repayment of the money.”
Previously prosecutor Jennifer Graham told the court Smith was employed as head bar steward at the small community club between 2013 and 2014 and that she had sole responsibility for banking the bar takings.
Ms Graham said: “On November 16, 2014 the club treasurer and secretary submitted accounts to the accountant which ran from 2013 to 2014.
“There were dates when nothing had been banked relating to the sum of £17,958.17 and the treasurer enquired into this.
“They attended at the Royal Bank of Scotland and it was confirmed this was not a mistake.
“Shortly after they spoke to the accused and asked if they could see the club’s pay-in books.
“The books were examined and revealed that any of the payments were not in any of the books.
“The accused was confronted and asked why the money was missing.”
Smith, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, was subsequently suspended from her trusted position and the police were called in.
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