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Ex leather firm boss in £194k

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By Fiona Reid

A LEATHER designer clothing firm's former managing director, originally from Moffat, has been found guilty of stealing nearly £200,000 worth of goods.

Owners of Aero Leather, which closed their Well Street, Moffat, hub in 1992, have welcomed the fact that Will Lauder, originally from Moffat, who they appointed to run the company, was found guilty of stealing jackets, jeans and other items worth £194,825 from the firm.
The verdict was reached last Friday at the end of a three week trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Founder and main shareholder Ken Calder settled in the Moffat area in the early 1980s after a successful design career.
The luxury leather company was founded in Moffat in 1984 and Mr Lauder was taken on as a teenager by Mr Calder two years later.
The Moffat native stayed with the company during its move to bigger premises in Galashiels in 2004 and was named managing director following Mr Calder and his wife’s retirement to the Highlands.
Mr Calder said: “We took him on as a teenager and we trusted him implicitly.
“As soon as we left the takings went down but we thought it was just because he was new to the job and it would take a while to pick up, but it never did.
“Things got bad but we never suspected theft or any wrong-doing and then it was like the flood gates had opened.”
The family discovered that Mr Lauder had been selling Aero goods worth £52,000 on an online auction website and a large haul of Aero leather clothing items were found at his Hawick home.
Mr Calder said this week he was shocked by the revelation.
He said: “We gave someone who had nothing a job and an opportunity and the minute our backs were turned he treated the business like his own personal piggy bank. It was devastating.”
Lauder, who denied a theft charge, was found guilty by a majority verdict and sentencing was deferred until May 29.


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