A HOTEL porter who stole a guest’s laptop continued working for more than three months without telling his employers he faced a theft charge.

Carl Richard Evans, 23, who works at Peckforton Castle near Tarporley, took the £800 Dell laptop on September 23 last year during a shift at work.

Five days earlier, victim Kevin Wyke had been at a conference in the castle with NHS North West.

Mr Wyke drove home before realising he had left the laptop in the castle. He rang them and the computer was located. But when he got back, he was told it was no longer there.

Police traced the computer’s IP address to the house Evans shares with his grandparents in Weston Grove, Upton.

At Chester magistrates court on Wednesday, prosecutor Rob Youds said: “He found it on a trolley and thought nobody would want it because it was old. He made no attempt to see if it belonged to anyone.”

Howard Jones, defending, said Evans’ employers were not aware of the charges.

District judge Nicholas Sanders advised Evans to inform his employers of the conviction.

He added: “You made a very stupid decision which may yet put your job at risk.”

He ordered Evans to pay £43 costs and handed him a 12 month community order during which time he must complete 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Yesterday, castle owner Chris Naylor expressed shock at the news.

Despite the police investigation, Mr Naylor was aware a laptop had gone missing but its whereabouts had remained a mystery to him.

Mr Naylor added: “It is disappointing to hear that someone who’s been in a position of trust has acted in that way.

“Now we know about it there will be an internal investigation.”