Former caravan park manager denies £74,000 embezzlement

3011035 SSHC clayton caravans 'ad feature - exterior at Clayton caravan site, Dairsie
3011035 SSHC clayton caravans 'ad feature - exterior at Clayton caravan site, Dairsie

A MAN has been on trial this week accused of embezzling £74,000 from Clayton Caravan Park while he was manager there.

Kevin O’Neill (63) was in the dock at Cupar Sheriff Court facing 14 separate charges relating to his time at the site.

O’Neill, of 7 Shepherd Street, Kirkcaldy, denied before Sheriff Charles Macnair and a jury that between June 2008 and March 2010, while manager at Clayton Caravan Park near Dairsie, he embezzled sums ranging from £800 to £12,000.

Park owner Dorothy Kennedy, called as a witness, told the court on Monday that O’Neill’s £63,000-a-year duties involved selling caravans, running the park, sorting clients’ problems and organising maintenance staff.

She said he was a trusted employee who had been allowed to take as much responsibility as possible from her and her husband.

But a ‘seed in her mind’ was planted when a customer talked of paying his fees to O’Neill in a lump cash sum, while the whole thing ‘blew up’ over what she claimed was a fictitious buyer invented by O’Neill in relation to a deal over the sale of a caravan.

She told the court that the caravan was still on the stock list despite having been sold by O’Neill more than a year earlier for a cash payment of £9000.

Mrs Kennedy also alleged that O’Neill had taken out a loan with a finance company to mislead his employers over missing money from another sale.

During her evidence on Tuesday, she listed a number of occasions when she claimed money from caravan sales and site fees was unaccounted for.

A joint minute of agreement between prosecution and defence was placed before the court detailing instances when it was accepted that O’Neill was given sums of cash for caravan sales and site fees which had not been entered in the day book of the business.

The trial continued as the Fife Herald and St Andrews Citizen went to press.