Neil Hughes: Bill Bell Knew of False Invoices

Neil Hughes: Bill Bell Knew of False Invoices

Former marketing director Neil Hughes, accused of stealing more than £8,000 from Vale told police he made up false invoices with the knowledge of then chairman Bill Bell.

Mr Hughes is currently on trial at Stafford Crown Court charged with seven counts of theft from Vale Park between August 2000 and February 2001, while he was a director there.

The prosecution alleged that Hughes “put his hand in the till” to steal thousands of pounds and then covered his tracks with false invoices. Hughes is alleged to have taken advantage of “fairly slack” accounting systems at Port Vale by making false invoices for work by Waterloo Electrical, occasionally inventing work and often inflating the invoices.

Hughes denies all the charges.

When Hughes was questioned by police he admitted making up false invoices but said it was the result of conspiring with Mr Bell and to cover genuine work, the court heard. The jury was also told Hughes claimed he made up the false invoices to create some paper work to cover tax and VAT.

Roderick Henderson QC, prosecuting, said Hughes told police that the forgeries of invoices from Waterloo Electrical were prepared with the knowledge of Mr Bell and reported genuine honest transactions.

Mr Henderson told the jury: “This case is about stealing from the club. It is not about VAT or tax. We say this case is not a tax fiddle or a VAT fiddle, it is a dishonest man.”

Mr Henderson added: “This was the perfect opportunity for some creative accounting because there was work done by Waterloo Electrical and some of it was done in cash with no paper work so it provides, doesn’t it, the perfect cover for this kind of fraud.”

The court heard that people examining the club’s books, after Hughes left Port Vale for Cardiff City in April 2001, became suspicious of the transactions and the police were called.

The jury was told that the case would revolve around two central characters, Mr Bell and the defendant Neil Hughes.

Hughes is also alleged to have produced an invoice for £2,500 for computer equipment he claimed he had supplied to the club with his own money.

But prosecution witness Mr Bell said he was not aware of any property Hughes had bought that he was selling to the club.

Under cross examination Mr Bell denied that before Hughes took over as marketing director the place was a shambles

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