A KEIGHLEY man who lied to police and made up a story about a robbery at the pub he ran has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Ryan Anderton, 38, of Duke Street, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by falsely claiming a robbery had taken place at the Railway Inn in Main Street, Cononley.

Anderton had been effectively working as the pub’s landlord after being appointed to the role in May 2016, despite also working as a self-employed consultant, Bradford Crown Court was told.

Peter Byrne, prosecuting, said on July 18, 2016, the manager of the Bridgehouse Pub Company, which operated the Railway Inn, was informed a robbery had taken place at the pub and attended to see police tape up at the public house.

Mr Byrne said Anderton had told his manager he was leaving the pub the previous night when somebody barged the doors open and pushed him back into the pub, before attacking him and smashing his head into a glass mirror.

Anderton had then said he lost consciousness and when he woke up the week’s takings had been taken.

He said a man who was not a regular had been drinking in the pub on the Thursday who “did not fit in”.

Mr Byrne said that when questioned by superiors about the robbery six days later he admitted to staging the robbery as he feared losing his job, fabricating the robbery and stealing the takings.

A man was arrested over the incident as part of a police investigation who was later released, and Anderton made a “full and frank admission to police he had made up the allegation”.

Mitigating, Clare Walsh said Anderton, who appeared in the dock wearing a light blue shirt, has a background of mental health issues and crises and has had suicidal thoughts.

She said he is trying to control his alcohol misuse and attends mental health groups, and “is throwing himself into charity work and hoping to start his own business but is struggling to find employment with his history”.

Anderton has seven previous convictions for 13 offences, including a number of thefts, including stealing from an employer, but has never received a custodial sentence.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, Recorder of Bradford, said: “Yet again you have responded to a crisis with remarkable stupidity.

“You caused the police to expend vast sums – which they do not have – and somebody was arrested, fortunately not for long.

“Your employer had to engage in this process and you have lost your job due to a stupid reaction, blaming others for your negligence in not locking the pub up properly.

“It is always better when you make a mistake to ‘fess up, the outcome is always better no matter how embarrassing.

“You are aware of the seriousness of this offence. Normally I would send you to prison but you have mental health issues and locking you up in Armley would do nobody any good, and you were frank very quickly to the authorities.

“This is a matter of trust. If you blow it, you will be locked up.”

Anderton received a 14-month prison sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to attend alcohol treatment for six months, 20 days of rehabilitation, and carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Anderton had also previously been charged with stealing £2,357 from the Bridgehouse Pub Company, but this charge was not pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service.