Club accountant charged with stealing over £70,000

ACCUSED: Phil Haslam appeared in court
ACCUSED: Phil Haslam appeared in court

A part-time accountant at Chorley FC has appeared in court charged with stealing over £70,000 from the club.

Philip Haslam, 23, of Weldbank Lane, Chorley, appeared in court on Monday where he was charged with stealing over £40,000 from Chorley FC, £6,000 from the club’s Black and White Draw, and more than £22,000 from Chorley Sporting Club.

He is also alleged to have entered the club’s ground, at Victory Park, on two separate occasions last year and stolen £300 and £1,000.

Haslam was arrested in September last year after the club reported concerns about alleged financial irregularities with the football club and Chorley Sporting Club, which deals with money from the social club on Victory Park.

The charges relate to incidents between February and September, 2011. He did not enter a plea.

Club manager Garry Flitcroft and chairman Ken Wright were in court to hear the proceedings.

Haslam has been released on bail until April 23, when he will reappear at Chorley Magistrates’ Court for committal.

The club is going for a second consecutive promotion and is currently joint second in the Evo-Stik Premier North league.

A massive fundraising campaign was launched last year in the wake of the arrest, with directors at Chorley FC pumping £15,000 into the club and the Northern Trust Group Limited, which is owned by businessman Trevor Hemmings, also agreeing to inject a further £30,000.

The Guardian also launched a campaign, Save the Magpies II, which saw thousands of pounds pour in from businesses and supporters.

Chiarman Ken Wright said: “Local businesses have supported the club brilliantly and the supporters have come down in their numbers.

“The team have responded and we’re still in a really good position at this stage in the season.

“There are a lot of positives coming out of the club at the moment.”