Former manager of Turks Head in Hasketon faces jail after stealing £21,000 from pub
A thieving bar manager betrayed the faith of his employer and locals by squirrelling away more than £21,000 in six months.
Sulayman Sonko arrived at the Turks Head, in Hasketon, under the pretence of being trustworthy – gaining popularity among staff and customers, while siphoning company cash into his account.
The 40-year-old, of Lachlan Green, Woodbridge, could face jail when he returns to court for sentencing, following his guilty plea for stealing £21,435 between March 1 and August 31 last year.
Pub owner Jemima Withey, who entrusted Sonko with banking cash receipts, was “heartbroken” to uncover the deception on CCTV.
“He came here with a good reputation,” said Mrs Withey, who took on the pub with her husband in 2015, after a two-year closure. “He appeared hard-working and became very popular.
You may also want to watch:
“We never saw a change in his character until we noticed cash missing.”
According to Mrs Withey, Sonko protested his innocence, claiming he hadn’t time to deposit the money – a shortfall of which showed up in cash drawers, while the safe appeared deficient.
- 1 Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 2-1 win at Accrington Stanley
- 2 Coleman on Cook: 'If that's indication of his fortune as Ipswich manager, they can book a place in the Championship'
- 3 Popular Woodbridge restaurant set to close
- 4 'I have no doubt Ipswich will be successful' - Richardson doesn't rule out joining Cook at Town
- 5 Ipswich case rate rises, other Suffolk districts among lowest in England
- 6 'Please don't believe everything you read in the media' - Ipswich Town owner Evans addresses takeover reports
- 7 Man taken to hospital with serious leg injuries following collision
- 8 Marcus Evans on Paul Cook: 'He has shown a great desire to become our next manager'
- 9 'Life saving' roundabout completed at accident blackspot
- 10 Anger over loss of habitats after pond drained and trees felled
“We then took over the cash banking and noticed a large sum missing,” she said.
“I studied the CCTV with [head chef] Mauli and thought ‘oh, my word’.
“We were heartbroken – horrified.
“He pretended to put money in the safe, but had a large roll of 20 pound notes in the other hand – or he would sandwich a pile between paperwork and walk out.
“We reported it to police and gave him the opportunity to return the money, but he said it wasn’t him and cried.
“I want everyone to know what he did. We felt betrayed.
“People may call me foolish, and it’s left me more cynical, but I put trust in the people I employ.
“We put our own money back into the pub – otherwise we’d have been shutting the doors.”
Sonko, originally from Gambia and known as ‘Saul’, will be sentenced the week commencing August 7.
He had been charged with stealing £29,897.58 but admitted taking £21,435 at Ipswich Crown Court today, when Judge Rupert Overbury told him the crime crossed the custody threshold and may result in jail.
“Don’t go away from court thinking that you won’t go to prison when you come back, as you may very well do so,” said the judge, who will consider alternatives to immediate custody in a probation report.