Football club avoids going bust after accountant spends hundreds of thousands on drugs and 'sex cam model'
An accountant stole £240,000 from AFC Fylde over the course of two and a half years
Semi-professional football team AFC Fylde narrowly avoided going bust after an accountant who worked as a financial director for the club transferred £239,900 to his personal bank account.
Andrew Barnbrook, from Bispham, Lancashire, used the money to fund a lifestyle that included online gambling, cocaine use and the spending of between £50,000 and £70,000 on luxury gifts for a webcam model Victoria Sinclair.
The 38-year-old gradually stole the money from AFC Fylde for up to two and a half years before his financial wrongdoings came to light on 5 January last year and he was suspended from the club. He admitted theft and was jailed for 32 months.
Sinclair, who charged Barnbrook £8 a minute for performances, insisted that their relationship was purely business despite the gifts, which included expensive Chanel handbags from Harrods.
Judge Andrew Jeffries QC told Barnbrook: "You stuck the money up your nose, drank in champagne bars, befriended a live sex cam model, bought lavish gifts for her and paid for her time."
Preston Crown Court also heard the Lancashire club would have gone out of business if it had not been part of an umbrella company, Tangerine Holdings, which borrowed the cash to cover the shortfall.
Speaking after he entered his plea, AFC Fylde Chairman, David Haythornthwaite, said: “This case exposed the flaws in our systems that allowed Mr Barnbrook to take so much money without being challenged.
'It was a big wake-up call for us and unfortunately, there were some internal casualties as a result of his actions.
“The sad thing is that the only person who benefited from all of this is a call girl in Manchester and someone we have absolutely no legal right to recover the money."
A Proceeds of Crime Hearing will take place in due course.