A WEE COUNTY man who siphoned £100,000 from his firm to feed a gambling and drinking habit has been jailed for 18 months.

Gavin Maxwell used his position as managing director to withdraw "a large amount of cash" using the firm's credit card at cashline machines.

The 45-year-old also presented false invoices, purporting to be from a landscaping company which he pretended had carried out work for his company.

But in fact the bank account numbers detailed on the invoices were his own.

Deceived by the ruse, his firm, Alloa-based Robert M Donaldson UK Ltd., paid thousands of pounds into his personal bank account.

Falkirk Sheriff Court heard that Maxwell had worked for the tech-power firm for 20 years, after being recruited by the firm's founder when it was in its infancy.

When the founder died, Maxwell stepped into his shoes and began to supplement his £63,000-a-year salary by dipping into the firm's funds.

Prosecutor Robbie McDougall said "several suspicious transactions, which appeared to be personal, for various amounts of money" came to light during a review in late 2017, and Maxwell was suspended in April 2018.

Last Thursday, March 3, Maxwell, of Forbes Street, Clackmannan, admitted embezzling from the Alloa-based firm between March 28, 2017, and April 30, 2018.

Defence solicitor Mark Fallon said Maxwell had "worked his way up in the company from a very low level to the managing director's role".

He said: "That role was previously held by his friend who sadly passed away and Mr Maxwell took it on following the passing of his friend.

"It wasn't a role that was suited to Mr Maxwell who struggled to cope with the responsibility."

He said Maxwell's marriage was affected by "the alcohol he used as a coping mechanism", and he was "struggling financially".

He added: "He sought to try to resolve his financial difficulties by gambling, and thereafter matters snowballed.

"He was in a position of trust, and this resulted in the loss of such a large amount of money."

He said Maxwell was "ashamed and remorseful" but since leaving the firm had turned his life around, and "managed to resolve" his alcohol and gambling issues.

Imposing the jail term, Sheriff Christopher Shead told Maxwell: "In light of the gravity of this offence, a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal."