Sunderland bar operator due in court charged with £12,000 theft

Vesta Tilley's
Vesta Tilley's

A man whose company was employed to run a popular Sunderland bar has been charged with stealing more than £10,000 from the venue, the Echo can reveal.

Mark Hardy, who was employed to run Vesta Tilleys, in High Street West, is accused of a theft totalling £12,000.

Vesta Tilley's

Vesta Tilley's

Hardy, 44, of High Street West, is due to appear before city magistrates on Tuesday.

It is not yet known what date the alleged theft is said to have taken place.

Owners of the site, Amber Taverns, say that Hardy is longer working at Vesta Tilleys and a replacement is currently being trained.

Formerly the Black Bull, the building underwent a £1million renovation in 2014 and re-opened as Vesta Tilleys in honour of the late music hall star.

“I can confirm that Mr Mark Hardy has left the business and we are in the process of training a new operator to take over on a full-time basis.”

George Poulter of Amber Taverns

A male impersonator, vaudeville star Vesta was hugely popular at the turn of the last century and became a symbol of female independence.

She became synonymous with Wearside after laying the foundation stone for the Sunderland Empire Theatre, just yards from the bar, in 1906.

A bar at the theatre was opened in her name, however, it was replaced by the Ambassador’s Lounge a number of years ago.

Amber Taverns set about creating an Edwardian-themed watering hole as well as between 15 and 20 jobs in the process.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police confirmed: “Mark Hardy, 44, of High Street West, has been charged with theft by employee and is due to appear at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, November 8.”

George Poulter, regional manager for Amber Taverns, said: “I can confirm that Mr Mark Hardy has left the business and we are in the process of training a new operator to take over on a full-time basis.

“Mark Hardy is part of an ongoing investigation involving the police of which I can’t comment any further at the moment.”