'Trusted' accountant stole £330k to fund Blackpool holiday home and Range Rover

A 'trusted' accountant who stole more than £330,000 from his employers to fund a swanky Range Rover and a seaside getaway pad in Blackpool has been jailed.

Laurence Hearldon, got sacked from his role as a senior managing clerk at a fashion wholesaler when his dodgy dealings came to light. A court heard how the greedy 39-year-old was a 'liked' and 'trusted' employee with Sanjeev 1979 Ltd, but behind the scenes he was funnelling the company's dosh into his own pockets for nearly three years.

The dad claimed he started making the fraudulent transactions after debts piled up. However, Manchester Crown Court was told that he had bought a 'holiday home' in Blackpool. and a Range Rover.


Judge Sarah Johnston told him: "These purchases prove that the only explanation for your offending is greed. I'm also entirely satisfied from everything that I have read and heard that the majority of your offending was to provide a lifestyle beyond your means."

Hearldon was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to an offence of committing fraud by abusing his position, the M.E.N reports. The judge added: "You were liked and you were trusted.

"You have lost your good character by virtue of this offence. You have let your family down very badly."

Prosecuting, William Donnelly said Hearldon joined the firm in May 2014. "By all accounts he was viewed as a popular and diligent member of the accounting department," he said.

The court heard that by August 2021 he had been promoted to the role of senior managing clerk, a position which involved him in 'all areas of the company's financial affairs'. Mr Donnelly said the Cheetham Hill based firm's turnover was 'running into the tens of millions of pounds annually', adding that a 'small part' of the company's business was conducted via the PayPal payment system.

An audit of the company's finances was carried out in 2021 which raised 'concerns' about a 'discrepancy'. Hearldon initially tried to 'explain it away' when questioned, but after he was confronted again by company bosses he confessed.

It was discovered that Hearldon had made 140 transactions over a near three year period. "It seems that the company's PayPal account was being used as a personal account by Mr Hearldon to extract sums of money which were not insubstantial," Mr Donnelly said.

He was 'summarily dismissed', and attended a voluntary interview with police. Hearldon told officers that he was in debt and that he had started to steal 'small amounts' but had then 'lost control'.

He has since paid back £43,000 of the money stolen. Mr Donnelly said that it was discovered that Hearldon had purchased a Range Rover and a 'holiday home' in Blackpool.

Defending, William Staunton appealed for Hearldon to be spared from being sent to prison. He said Hearldon had since found another job carrying out 'manual labour'.

"He is a grafter by nature," Mr Staunton said. "He, on this occasion, has stepped into the realm of the grifter."

Mr Staunton said that Hearldon was 'profoundly ashamed' of his behaviour. "He is a man who wishes, perhaps for the goodness of his redemption, to be able to pay back to the community," the barrister added.

"It is a sad story of a man who saw an opportunity to help feather the nest, but kept going with it." But Judge Johnston said the offence was too serious for any punishment other than an immediate prison sentence.

Hearldon, from Ordsall, Salford, will serve half of his three year sentence behind bars.