A MANAGER stole thousands of pounds from a small company whose owner had helped him buy his house and pay for his daughter’s wedding.

Brian Blake, 65, of Newport, conned Cardiff firm Rycon Steels Ltd out of £8,600 after working as a trusted employee for them for 15 years.

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He pocketed the money from the steel stockholder business over a five-month period to help him feed his gambling addiction.

Jeffrey Jones, prosecuting, said: “Rycon Steels’ director Andrej Djordjevitch appears to be a decent man and treated the defendant well.


“He paid him £75,000 a year and provided him with a vehicle. He had also given him a loan to move into his house and pay for his first daughter’s wedding.”

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Blake kept cash payments that were supposed to be handed over to be banked.

Mr Jones added: “The defendant fell under suspicion and he approached Mr Djordjevitch to say that he had been stealing money and he appeared to be apologetic.

“He said he had a gambling problem.”

The prosecutor said: “The defendant was a general manager at the company and had worked for the firm for 15 years.

“He had worked himself up after starting off in sales.”

Mr Jones said Mr Djordjevitch trusted Blake with having more responsibility as he sought to play a lesser role in the company’s affairs.

He read out part of a victim impact statement made by Helena Djordjevitch, Mr Djordjevitch’s wife and a fellow director.

She said she was left working 15 hours a day, seven days a week for six months, to make sense of the company’s accounts after the defendant’s crime.

Mrs Djordjevitch added: “His style of management created a negative culture in the workplace.”

Blake, of Amelia Close, pleaded guilty to one count of theft.

The offences were committed between June and October 2018.

Derrick Gooden, mitigating, said: “The defendant is a 65-year-old man of clean character who has now lost his good name.

“He notified the company director of his offending.”

The judge, Recorder Patrick Upward QC, told Blake: “You broke the trust and stole from someone who had helped you buy your house and pay for your daughter’s wedding.”

He jailed Blake for six months, suspended for two years, and ordered him to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

The defendant will face a Proceeds of Crime Act investigation with a hearing due to be held in February.