A former employee of the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool has been jailed for more than two years after admitting to stealing £273,000 from the venue, leaving it on the brink of closure.
Kelvin Lloyd pleaded guilty to the theft at Liverpool Crown Court, which heard how he bought Apple devices, games consoles, TVs and a holiday to the US with the money, as well as spending more than £13,000 on Ubers and takeaway food from Deliveroo and Just Eat.
The thefts occurred between April 2016 and December 2017, at which time the theatre fell into administration, prompting the discovery of unusual payments.
The court heard how Lloyd had initially blamed the discrepancies on “spreadsheet errors”, but admitted to stealing the money when police were called.
He took a total of £180,000 from the Epstein’s bank account, and £92,000 from its safe.
The theatre is run by Rebekah and David Pichilingi, who told the court that Lloyd’s actions had put “unbearable” financial pressure on the theatre and had left them “torn apart”.
He was sentenced to two years and four months in prison on April 9.
A statement from the theatre’s spokesman said: “We have worked closely with the police throughout their investigation and welcome the outcomes of today’s court proceedings. We now look forward to continuing to do what the Epstein does best, providing top-class entertainment for the people of Liverpool.”
The grade II-listed theatre, formerly the Neptune, was renamed after the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in 2011 when it relaunched following a £1 million refurbishment.