Embezzler must pay back £6,000 to Oban shinty club

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An Oban man has been ordered to pay back the £6,000 he embezzled from a shinty club he set up.

David Martin, 49, of 30 Nant Drive, Soroba, has also been told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work after appearing at the town’s sheriff court for sentencing last week.

Martin was treasurer of Oban Lorn Shinty Club in September 2016 when he stole the money, buying items from Amazon, Wish and Netflix, takeaways and groceries. Questionable transactions were noticed in April this year.

The court heard it had been ‘a gross breach of trust’ on Martin’s part, involving friends and people who relied on him, and it had brought him ‘shame and disgrace’.

He had started the club as a positive community endeavour but he accepted now his good reputation had gone, the court was told.

There were a number of contributing factors, including Martin, who pleaded guilty to spending the cash, having a heart attack and grieving a close friend who had cancer, the court was told. He also had mental health difficulties and had trouble keeping some of his small businesses afloat.

‘He always had the notion the situation would be rectified, that his businesses would properly function and the sum he took from the club would be repaid. Of course that did not happen and the situation spiralled,’ said his defence.

Martin had offered to pay the money back to the club earlier but police bail conditions were that he should not interfere with witnesses.

Sheriff Patrick Hughes said: ‘Social and sports clubs like this are part of the fabric of local community life, helping make it a better place. It’s vital people have mutual trust and that includes in financial matters. Your own action violated that trust.’

As well as paying the money back to Oban Lorn Shinty Club, Martin will be supervised by social workers for six months, carry out his unpaid work within 12 months and have a review in three months.