A BREWERY boss who plundered company funds to finance a lavish lifestyle was ordered to pay back more than £1.6m yesterday.
Graham Sykes, 46, - who was given free beer as a perk of his job - stole the cash so he could take his family first class to see England play in the 2002 World Cup in Japan.
He drove a top of the range Mercedes plus a Merc 4x4, owned a four bedroomed detached house and spent up £5,000 a month on designer clothes.
When detectives from the National Crime Squad uncovered his thieving, officers discovered almost £250,000 in cash stuffed in bundles around a flat he was renting in Edgerton Grove Road, Huddersfield.
More than £74,000 was found in black canvas bank bags under his kitchen sink and more cash was found in a kitchen drawer.
Another wad of £2,700 was found in a bathroom cupboard and around £150,000 was found stuffed in separate suitcases under his bed.
Later when he was quizzed Sykes - a £50,000-a-year debt recovery manager with Scottish and Newcastle breweries - claimed he had been saving the cash for a "rainy day" because he was in fear of being made redundant.
Yesterday divorcee Sykes, now of Upholland near Wigan, Greater Manchester was jailed for four and a half years.
He admitted the theft of £600,000 and false accounting by using £1.2m to facilitate and cover up the thefts.
Under a proceeds of crime ruling he will also have to pay £1,664,367.40 to his former bosses within 12 months or face another seven years in prison.
Extensive inquiries by the National Crime Squad into Sykes' financial affairs resulted in assets worth £1.65 being recovered - one of the Britain's largest ever seizures of dirty money from a villain.
It emerged he had tried to hide some of the money by opening a bank account in his son's name.
Passing sentence Judge Anthony Gee QC told Sykes: "You were in a well paid and highly trusted position and you were effectively your own boss.
"It took a long time to unravel the tangled web you wove and your dishonesty was extensive.
"It is one of the most serious examples of dishonesty committed in breach of trust. You stole huge sums of money in a clever, systematic and sophisticated way. You did it out of sheer greed."
Earlier the court heard Sykes had been employed by the brewery since 1996 and in was in charge of 3,317 accounts relating to tenant licensees.
His role was to reduce both debts owed by licensees for loans and supply of drinks.