A BOLTON man who conned a Radcliffe company out of more than £17,000 by abusing his position has admitted he “messed up big time.”

Gareth Edwards had previously admitted one charge of fraud relating to his time as general manager of Big Chief Tipis, formerly of Vale Street.

He appeared at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, where a hearing was due to take place to determine how much he exactly had taken.

The 40-year-old falsified freelancers’ invoices and paid the fees to himself.

The company hired out tipis for weddings and have counted Glastonbury Festival, celebrity chef James Martin and motorcycle champion Carl Fogarty as customers.

Edwards previously claimed he had carried out the fraud, to the tune of a little more than £11,000 but prosecutors said it was £18,000.

After discussions between both parties it was agreed the amount in question was £17,281.

Edwards, from Willand Close in Breightmet, is due to go on trial next year on unrelated matters.

Judge Imran Shafi QC deferred sentence on him for the fraud until that case is resolved.

Speaking after the hearing, Edwards spoke of his regret at the fraud and said how it came about.

He said: “I have messed up big time, it is that simple.

“I was in a difficult situation whereby the contractors weren’t turning up to do the work.

“I felt pressurised, it was still my responsibility to get the work done and I would not be paid for it.

“My wife wasn’t happy if I was going to go out and work and not get paid, that was unacceptable.

“We needed the extra money, we had financial difficulties.

“I needed the overtime and I needed paid overtime.

“I thought I had found the solution that solved every problem, the contractor doesn’t turn up I do the job but I paid the money to myself.

“I have still paid the same amount, my wife is happy I am working and getting paid for it, the money I need for overtime.

“I thought ‘what a great solution’ I’d solved every issue.

“It is actually fraud, I have a different opinion now.

“I am not a bad person I have just done a stupid thing.

“Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up, I just wish there was a way to put it right.”