A building firm’s finance boss siphoned off nearly £370,000 in company cash to fund a lavish lifestyle that included buying pedigree kittens, a court heard.

Matthew Farrimond, admitted 12 counts of fraud by pretending to pay the cash to charities and also one offence of money laundering.

Farrimond, 41, from Buckshaw Village, Chorley, was jailed four years, at a Bolton Crown Court hearing.

Police said he had been the “biggest threat” to the firm’s finances.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Farrimond and his partner had lived “way beyond their means” but had been able to put down a £150,000 deposit on a house with the stolen money.

‘Charity cheques’

Greater Manchester Police said Farrimond, who was finance manager at a company in Westhoughton, created false invoices to cover the payments into his own account.

His crimes were uncovered when two cheque stubs were found showing unplanned large payments to charities, the court heard.

Further investigation revealed that the cash had actually been paid into Farrimond’s bank account.

PC Kate Riley, of GMP’s Economic Crime Section, said: “Farrimond’s role was to safeguard the financial interests of the company he worked for, but he was the biggest threat to their hard-earned funds.

“That he would deceitfully take money from the company he worked for is one thing, but he should be ashamed of the fact he hid his fraud by pretending to pay charities.”