A CASTLE Howard employee has been jailed for stealing £78,670 in years of crimes at the stately home.

Robert William Hookway, 72, used his job as a cashier in the stately home to steal up to £668 a day until he was arrested at work, York Crown Court heard.

Judge Simon Hickey told him: “You are a well-off man and you chose to behave in this way and to steal from this establishment.”

Hookway, of Swinton, pleaded guilty to nine charges of theft by employee and was jailed for 20 months.

Paul Nicholson, prosecuting, said Hookway worked in the ticket office. But instead of putting visitors’ fees in the till, he manipulated the refund system and put the cash in his pocket.

For six years, from 2012 to his arrest in 2018, he stole an average of £1,660 a month, taking between £31 and £668 a day.

Police could not investigate if he had been stealing before 2012 because the till records before then had not been kept.

For Hookway, Julian Goode said he was remorseful for his actions and handed in a letter which he said showed that the stolen money “could be repaid immediately”.

The judge said it was only right Hookway repaid the money and set an assets confiscation hearing on March 4.

Mr Goode said: “This was not an offence to provide him and his wife with a lavish lifestyle. This was motivated by his wish to help his wife.”

Hookway had stolen because he wanted money to pay for private health care for his wife.

Mr Nicholson said accountancy checks at the estate revealed something was amiss in August 2018.

Checking CCTV footage from the admissions booth, investigators saw Hookway carrying out the thefts.

When he was arrested on August 26, 2018, he had £155 in his wallet and £75 in an envelope at his side.

After the court case, a Castle Howard spokesman said: “We are pleased that this matter appears to be concluded and we will not be making any further comments.”