A FORMER Pocklington sports shop owner stole from a hockey club after the collapse of hs business left him in financial dire straits.
Damian James Greig, 33, of Barmby Moor, ran the Balls and All sports shop in Pocklington for two years before it shut down in March last year.
Bridlington Magistrates’ Court heard last Wednesday that financial troubles following the shop’s closure were among the reasons that drove Greig to steal £252 from Driffield Hockey Club.
Greig, who has played for the Yorkshire Police Force Hockey Team, stole the players’ monthly subscriptions last March and pleaded guilty to the theft when he appeared before the court.
Prosecutor Jayne Wilson said that Greig was given the role of collecting the monthly subs for Driffield Hockey Club in January 2011.
These were handed over at the club’s monthly committee meetings in January and February but the £252 due in March was never produced.
Mrs Wilson said Greig did not attend the club meeting in March and it was discovered that he had gone to work abroad.
Upon his return, club members sent him letters and called him numerous times but when there was no response the police were called in.
Mrs Wilson said Greig told officers he had fallen on hard times, had spent the club funds when he knew he shouldn’t have, and had taken the money for his own use but failed to pay it back.
Defending Greig, Richard Fowler told magistrates: “Its an unfortunate incident of a gentleman in a collapsing business which seems to have brought down the defendant.”
Mr Fowler said Greig was once a ‘well-respected figure’ in Driffield Hockey Club.
“He had been running it for a couple of years but had fallen on hard times and found himself in a great deal of debt. He was effectively trying to juggle sums of money,” Mr Fowler said.
“At the same time, his marriage was falling apart and there were further complications with separating up finances.
“Every money available was being taken out of Mr Greig’s hands so he was unable to pay,” he added.
Mr Fowler said when Greig was offered a job in Spain for the summer he thought it would be a chance to re-start his life.
But, when he returned to the UK, Greig tried to repay the money but found that the matter had gone too far and the club had lost patience with him.
Mr Fowler added: “Mr Greig is no longer welcome at the hockey club. It was a very important part of his social life and sporting life. He knows people there who now have a very dim view of him and that’s something he’s horrified by.”
Presiding Magistrate Robin Sunley told Greig the bench had taken into account that fact that he had shown remorse and had tried to repay the money.
He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay back the money in full within the next 28 days. He was also ordered to pay £85 court costs.