A former owner of the Inveresk Tavern says “huge financial stress” led him to steal from the business.
Michael Kevin Quill sold the Launceston pub in November 2015 after running it for seven years with his brother.
After being employed by the tavern’s new owner, Charlie Raynor, Quill worked three days a week until October last year when he was found to be stealing cash from the premises.
Appearing in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Monday, the father-of-two pleaded guilty to 31 counts of stealing.
The offences were captured on CCTV footage and occurred over a few weeks – a total of $1486 was taken.
On a number of occasions, Quill failed to enter the sale of alcohol into the cash register and instead pocketed the money. When customers purchased alcohol with eftpos, instead of entering the sale he would use the ‘cash-out’ option and take the money himself.
He was also seen breaking into the BINGO machine for both tickets and cash.
His employment was terminated and he was interviewed by police in October.
Quill told police he had stolen the money “for his family” and that he had sold the business because he was “heading for bankruptcy” and had fallen out with his brother.
He said he had been left with about $150,000 debt after selling the tavern.
Now a disability support worker and volunteer, Quill told the court on Monday he hoped to pay back the money.
“It was a dark time for me – the most embarrassing part is walking down the street … looking people in the eye,” he said.
Magistrate Sharon Cure said she accepted his honesty and that his situation had been financially devastating.
Ms Cure told Quill she had no intention of sending him to jail and the court could “show him some mercy”.
“You are not, in my view, someone who warrants that approach,” she said.
Quill will reappear for sentencing on April 28 at 2.15pm.