A sick "sex pest" ex-cop with a cocaine habit and an addiction to hookers used his position as manager at a hotel to steal thousands of pounds.

James Hughes had previously been convicted of using a police computer to get hold of women’s contact details before bombarding them with messages, WalesOnline reports.

The 40-year-old used his position as manager to steal £24,000 from a boutique hotel in Ceredigion.

After this behaviour was exposed and he was under police investigation he moved to Surrey where he got another managerial job and swindled a different posh hotel out of £40,000.

The money was spent on sex workers because of Hughes' addiction to the attention he got in return, Swansea Crown Court heard.

Tom Scapens, prosecuting, said the defendant introduced a new system at the hotel whereby he could discreetly put hotel money into his account.

His employers were not aware of his previous conviction for abusing his position in the police to illegally contact an "alarming amount of women".

One victim was contacted 1,500 times in three months.

After his theft from the hotels was exposed, Hughes, of Orchard Way, Helmsley, York, admitted two counts of theft by an employee.

Ffion Tomos, mitigating, said he was "locked into a self-destructive pattern" that he couldn’t escape.

She said Hughes was addicted to using the services of escorts and "feels he has to provide them with a certain lifestyle so they stay with him".

The barrister added her defendant has obsessive and compulsive thinking and is "driven by the need to be appreciated and approved of".

Judge Geraint Walters said the offending was driven by a liking for cocaine and an "unusual" addiction to sex workers.

He gave the defendant a one-third discount on his sentence for pleading guilty and sentenced him to two and a half years in prison.

Hughes will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence.

An investigation under Proceeds of Crime Act powers is underway.

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