A MAN who embezzled thousands of pounds from a community theatre group has been ordered to repay the cash and do unpaid work as punishment.

Barry Orr, 35, admitted he took £3,000 from the Mummers Theatre Group between December 1, 2015 and May 17, 2016.

The group, who are based in Old Kilpatrick and perform at the Denny Civic Theatre in Dumbarton, had previously said the money lost prevented them from putting on as many shows as they wanted.

At Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week, Sheriff Maxwell Hendry was told Orr had tried to pay back the money already but his solicitor said he hadn’t been able to get through to the Mummers.

The sheriff said: “That is only one aspect of the matter. There has to be a punitive element to that.”

His lawyer told the court: “He accepts that. The offence is of some age. The plea was at such a late stage because disclosure was only that morning.”

But Sheriff Hendry replied: “He knew all along what he had done.”

The solicitor said: “He has not been in trouble since this. He worked in the financial sector for 10 years - that’s now closed off to him.”

The sheriff, pointing out Orr’s “shame you have brought on yourself”, made a compensation order for £3,000 to be paid within 14 days. Orr, of Thistleneuk, Old Kilpatrick, must also carry out 120 hours of unpaid work within six months.

Speaking previously, the group said: “This has been a very difficult time for us as a group, dealing with what happened and fundraising to try and fix the challenging financial state we were left in.

“That someone we trusted with our finances would choose to do this to us has been very upsetting, but we are relieved that guilt has finally been admitted, and that we can finally move forward.”

A spokeswoman for the charity said Orr joined them in 2011 and became treasurer in 2014.

When the previous board was dissolved more than three years ago, the missing funds were noticed.

Repeated requests for any paperwork to be returned were either ignored or refused, they said.

Orr was charged with embezzling over £10,000 from the group, but pleaded guilty to taking £3,000.