A SOCIAL club worker who reported a bogus burglary to the police has avoided jail.

Thomas Sorby, aged 24, called police raising alarm about a burglary at Kearsley Social Club on June 28 last year, Bolton Crown Court heard.

David Toal, prosecuting, told the court police arrived at the social club in Manchester Road, Kearsley, in the early hours of the morning and found damage had been caused to a fruit machine.

Sorby, who had allegedly locked up the business at 2am, told police he was too scared to enter until police arrived after the break-in.

But Sorby, of Market Street, Stoneclough, could not explain why the alarm was not activated when he was questioned by police.

Mr Toal said: “Further investigations into the damage on the door showed it could not have been made from outside.

“It wasn’t forced entry damage to the doorway. The burglary had been set up.”

Following the raid, Sorby confessed to Dayle Kidd, his boss, that the burglary had been a “set up” and he had been bullied into it by a person known as Moggy, the court heard yesterday.

Mark Friend, defending, said: “The defendant was held in high regard. He was a very diligent worker and somebody who they could rely on entirely.

“Dayle Kidd found it hard to believe the defendant had been involved alone because it didn’t seem to fit in with her experience of him.”

Mr Friend added that Moggy was believed to be a “formidable woman and knew her to be someone not to be messed with”.

Recorder Jeremy Lasker, sentencing, said: “You obviously took advantage of your position of trust and you set up this bogus burglary causing damage to the outside door to make it look as if somebody had broken in, caused damage to the gaming machine and stealing in the region of £400 to £500.

"Then to make it look even more realistic you phoned the police to report the burglary.”

Sorby, who admitted burglary, criminal damage and perverting the course of justice, was sentenced to an 18-month community order, during which he must do 150 hours of unpaid work.