A LAMPETER man has been found not guilty of stealing almost £150,000 from his own company.

Andrew Ling, 39, of Cysgod-Y-Coed in Cwmann, was on trial at Swansea Crown Court accused of the theft of £148,517.78 from Perpetual V2G Systems Ltd between March 30, 2016, and June 12, 2018.

He denied a charge of theft by an employee.

Jim Davis, for the prosecution, alleged that Ling had taken money from the company bank accounts – moving it from the current account to the business’ reserves account and then to his own account.

However, the defendant maintained throughout the course of the investigation and the trial that he did not take any money that he was not owed.

After around three hours and 40 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict.

Addressing the defendant, Recorder Owen-Casey said: “The jury has found you not guilty. You are now free to go.”

The judge thanked the jury and also both counsel for their efforts during the week-long trial.

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During the trial, the jury heard that Ling set up the company in 2013 – taking out personal loans to do so.

“Every penny he had went towards his idea,” the jury was told.

He got a patent in 2015, and Ling said that he “worked 24/7, minus sleep” to get the company up and running.

“He didn’t get a wage from his business until 2016,” Dyfed Thomas said, defending.

The defendant was said to have believed that the company owed him about £195,000 in total.

Mr Thomas said that an accountant hired by the company had said there was nothing unlawful about Ling raising invoices against the company for work he had done.

He added that the company’s accountancy software was “transparent”.

It had been suggested by the prosecution that Ling felt “aggrieved and disgruntled” that his efforts were not being recognised and that he felt he was losing his company.

“He denied that he was aggrieved at the time with others paying themselves big salaries,” Recorder Owen-Casey said during his summary of the evidence.

“He accepted he is bitter now, but wasn’t bitter at the time of these transactions.”

The jury was told the defendant was unhappy with the terms of a second round of investment from Finance Wales, and it was only after this and a “heated exchange” with other members of the board – who were in favour of the investment – that questions about his director’s loan account started being asked.

Ling was removed from the business following an internal investigation in to these payments.

“Here were three businessmen who saw a good idea and basically wanted to make some money out of it,” Mr Thomas said.

“Mr Ling was out of his own company. The funding went through and they split his shares.”

“In his view, it all went wrong when the advisors came on to the board,” Recorder Owen-Casey said, summing up.