Man jailed over theft and fraud at Worle butchers
- Credit: Avon & Somerset Police
A man who stole more than £14,000 from the butchers he worked for has been jailed.
Michael Vowles, of Avonmouth Road, Bristol, pleaded guilty to three offences, including fraud by abuse of position, fraud by false representation and theft committed while working for Worle Moor Butchers, in Worle High Street.
The 28-year-old has now been jailed for 12 months.
Vowles is a qualified butcher who was employed as a manager by Frances Bird, the owner of the shop, in Worle High Street, in August 2017.
The victim first noticed Vowles actions when the cashflow into the business account from sales did not match the money being spent on produce.
When she challenged Vowles on the matter in June 2018, the defendant walked out and did not return.
In the year Vowles worked for the victim, he pocketed the money in a range of different ways.
Before the butchers had opened, Vowles had started to buy meat from suppliers using the business’ cash and sold it on and took the profit. He also duped the victim into paying him for equipment already purchased by the business, which he then pocketed.
- 1 More than 20 people fined for discarding fags and off-lead dogs
- 2 Petition launched to halt planned bus cuts in North Somerset
- 3 Woman dies after collision in Clevedon
- 4 Bradley bags Clevedon Senior Championship in play-off drama
- 5 Clevedon in relegation dogfight after Taunton Deane defeat
- 6 How to see the last supermoon of the year this weekend
- 7 Deal means Portishead to Bristol rail line will open in 2026
- 8 Modernised, extended three-bedroom house in Claverham
- 9 Carers reach finals in top awards
- 10 Cost of living crisis: What to do if you can't pay your bills
Once the butchers opened, the defendant then proceeded to alter the books and officers discovered he had taken more than £14,000.
This is on top of the approximate £2,000 he had already stolen from the business.
When he left the business, he also attempted to throw away the cash books to hide his crimes but this key piece of evidence was found by the victim.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Bird said: "Our life has been changed beyond repair and brought us to the point of personal insolvency.
"As a result of the financial loss to the business, we have been unable to recover our investment and have finally had to the sell the business.
"We sold assets and got our other company into debt to cover bills in Worle Moor Butchers. This caused immeasurable emotional and mental stress which made us ill."
Vowles was sentenced today (June 29) at Bristol Crown Court.
The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Constable Ross Chambers, said: "To break the trust of an employee is such a terrible way is unforgivable and it has had a monumental impact on the victim and her family.
"The victim has had to pay out half of her pension investment to cover the losses to the business, caused by Vowles' actions.
"He did not think twice about taking that money and the implications it would have for the business owner. I hope this is a lesson learned and the victim and their family get some justice in today's sentencing."
If you are a victim of fraud, or see a scam, report it to Action Fraud online 24/7 or on 0300 123 2040 weekdays between 8am and 8pm.