A FORMER employee who stole more than £78,000 from Castle Howard has been ordered to return all the cash.

For six years, Robert William Hookway, 72, used his job as a cashier at the entrance desk to steal up to £668 a day from the stately home, York Crown Court heard in October.

By the time he was arrested at work, he had put £78,670.55 of visitors' entrance fees in his pocket instead of the till by manipulating the refund system.

Police froze three savings accounts of his following his arrest.

Now Judge Sean Morris has ordered that £78,670.55 be confiscated from one of the frozen accounts.

He also ordered that the money be paid as compensation to Castle Howard Estate.

The rulings were made at a hearing at York Crown Court this week under the Proceeds of Crime Act which aims to stop criminals benefitting from their crimes.

Hookway was brought to court from prison where he is currently serving 20 months after admitting nine charges of theft by employee.

He and his wife, who also attended the hearing, signed documents agreeing to the money being taken out of the frozen account.

In October, Judge Simon Hickey told Hookway: "You are a well-off man and you chose to behave in this way and to steal from this establishment."

Paul Nicholson, prosecuting, said Hookway carried out the thefts from 2012 to 2018.

Police had been unable to investigate whether the thefts had been going on for longer because the till records prior to 2012 had been destroyed. Defence counsel Julian Goode said Hookway could repay the money immediately.