A LLANDYSUL activity centre worker stole cash from his employer, made numerous bogus phones calls to the police, accused a group of youths of vandalism and then claimed he had been pushed into a lake by a teenager, a court has heard.

Declan Cox pleaded guilty to stealing cash and damaging a window at The Paddlers Canoe Centre, on June 26.

The 18-year-old, who now lives at Flat 31, 130 Cumberland Street, Glasgow, was living and working at the centre last summer, when he made several calls to the police.

Helen Tench, prosecuting, told the court that the defendant contacted officers at 9pm to report a number of youths jumping in the nearby river.

He later called again to say the youths were pushing equipment into the lake, and a further call was made stating a brick had been thrown through the centre window.

Cox claimed to have chased the youths away and been pushed into the lake by one who had "hidden behind a canoe".

Miss Tench said: “Police arrived and searched the area with a negative result, and scenes of crime officers attended.”

Cox called police again at 4am reporting voices and laughter outside the centre, but nothing was found when officers attended. He then contacted officers again to say money had been taken from the office, and the till was found thrown on the floor.

Miss Tench said: “The next afternoon the defendant contacted police to say he had the male with him who had been responsible for pushing him into the lake.

"The defendant made a statement confirming this was the man who assaulted him, but the statement showed discrepancies.”

Cox later left the centre and moved to Glasgow. He then contacted the police to admit responsibility for the damage and taking money from the till, but the amount could not be confirmed.

Cox claimed he had panicked and thrown the cash into the river.

Centre manager Gareth Bryant provided a victim impact statement saying security had to be increased at the premises following the incident.

He said: “The business has been affected, and we have changed the way we employ people now.

“We are more cautious, which is a shame because the centre offers valuable experience.

“I’m worried about leaving the centre in the evening now.”

Alison Mathias, defending, told the court her client was 17 at the time of the offence, and went on to make a "full and frank" admission.

She added that Cox was dealing with family issues during his time at the centre, had Asperger syndrome and PTSD, and was classed as a vulnerable person by social services.

Miss Mathias said: “He was living on site and found it difficult to adjust to life in rural west Wales.

“He was not thinking things through clearly or logically and made a very poor decision.”

She added that Cox had apologised to the manager and offered to pay compensation, and it had already cost him £300 to travel back to Ceredigion to visit the police station and court.

Magistrates fined Cox £120 and ordered him to pay £310 compensation, plus £85 costs and a £20 surcharge.