Leeds referee ‘stole 5-a-side money’

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A referee was found guilty of stealing more than £1,200 from a five-a-side football business, a court heard.

But Colin Woods is set to appeal the verdict after his partner belatedly admitted that she took the cash, Leeds Magistrates’ Court was told.

The 32-year-old, of Beckhill Chase, Meanwood, was convicted after a trial of seven offences of stealing from Champion Soccer, based in Gildersome.

The court heard he was responsible for collecting players’ money, which he was then meant to bank.

But checks by company staff revealed that none of the £1,203 he had gathered had been deposited.

Catherine Dowson, prosecuting, said: “The defendant’s partner indicated that it had been handed over to a representative of Champion Soccer who attended at their house, but that turned out to be false.”

Joe Macdonald, representing Woods, said his client was working as a referee – at a centre in Horsforth – at least one night a week.

He said the defendant’s partner had stuck to her story that she had given the cash to a Champion Soccer representative until Monday night of this week.

Mr Macdonald said yesterday: “It came to my attention as of last night that she has admitted she took the money.”

He said the development was likley to mean the case would be reopened or an appeal would be lodged with the crown court.

Pending any appeal, Woods was sentenced to a 16-week curfew, to run from 7pm to 7am daily, and ordered to pay £1,203 compensation and £250 in legal costs.

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