A MAN accused of embezzling nearly £80,000 from an award-winning Greenock business almost seven years ago has turned up at the town's sheriff court without a defence lawyer.

Simon Fellows is charged with stealing the money from the company accounts of PG Paper during the course of a single working day in March 2017.

Fellows, 55 - who is facing trial before a sheriff and jury - denies helping himself to the £79,194 worth of funds whilst he was employed as the firm's sales manager.

He represented himself at the latest calling of the indictment case, having previously been denied sanction to be defended at trial by legal counsel.

The Telegraph reported in November 2022 that the accused's solicitor at the time, Amy Spencer, had told a pre-trial hearing: "This is because the case is in fact not as complex as first thought."

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Fellows told the court this week that he had been trying to secure legal representation but his efforts had fallen short because his preferred option proved 'too expensive'.

He was urged by Sheriff James Varney to investigate whether he is eligible for legal aid, since the 'very serious' allegation could cause him problems when the case proceeds to trial before a jury.

We told in May 2021 how Fellows was apprehended by police in the village of Northop in Flintshire, north-east Wales, and driven 270 miles to Inverclyde for an initial court appearance on petition.

He is also charged with failing to appear for a previous calling of the case.

Sheriff Varney adjourned proceedings until March 19 to allow the accused time to find a solicitor.

PG Paper, run by couple Poonam and Puneet Gupta and based at Custom House, now operates in more than 60 countries worldwide having been set up in 2003.