A FORMER football club commercial manager behind a sportsman’s dinner which would have seen Paul Gascoigne as speaker had been pocketing cash.

The Caernarfon Town FC event didn’t go ahead because crooked Tristram Lee failed to pay a deposit - to Gazza’s disgust.

On Thursday, Lee, 36, of Bron Dinas, Llangefni, admitted fraud by abusing his position to gain £1,330 for himself between July 2017 and January 2018.

The prosecution said far more cash was suspected to have been taken. “It can’t be proved,” said prosecutor Diane Williams at Caernarfon magistrates’ court.

Lee received a 26 weeks suspended prison term and must do 150 hours unpaid work, pay £1,330 compensation and £200 costs.

Court chairwoman Sian Jones Evans told him :”This sort of offence affects the whole community. Local companies have entrusted you with their sponsorship money and the football club can lose their standing and reputation.”

The prosecutor said Lee had been employed to raise sponsorship money for the club and would take a 15 per cent cut. The target was about £4,000-a-month but the club manager noticed the amount coming in was far less than hoped.

Lee had been “pocketing” cash. “Evidence has been obtained from companies who confirmed that invoices they were given showed the defendant’s personal account and not the club account,” said Mrs Williams. Lee had a 2005 theft caution.

She explained that the dinner didn’t take place. “This was a significant breach of trust,” Mrs Williams added.

Defence solicitor Richard Williams said Lee was apologetic. At the time of the offence he was suffering difficulties in his personal life and at work. He began binge drinking.

“He seems to have got his life back on track,” the lawyer added.

A probation officer said Lee had also been using cocaine at the time but no longer did so.