A long-serving barman at Helston Cricket Club has been found guilty of stealing £500 of takings and gambling them away before trying to burn down the club to conceal the evidence.

Jamie Paul Richard Borrett, of Bulwark Road, had denied all charges against him when he appeared before a jury at Truro Crown Court on Monday and Tuesday.

However, a jury returned their verdict within two hours and 40 minutes of retiring, finding him guilty of theft and arson, although they returned a not guilty verdict to the more serious charge of arson reckless as to whether life is endangered.

The court heard 38-year-old Borrett had been involved with the club for 20 years and was a keyholder for the front door security gate. He was also one of only two holders of keys for the safe at that time - club chairman David Frew being the other, who gave evidence he had his keys on him all day - although it was revealed in questioning that at least five people had held safe keys in the previous six months.

Borrett was working on the evening of July 14, 2016 alongside June Hinchliffe, who left at around 12.15am after he volunteered to lock up.

In his evidence Borrett claimed he left around five minutes later, returning home to his girlfriend.

Yet when club chairman David Frew arrived at 8.30am later that day, he discovered the front door was shut but unlocked and the padlock to the security gate was broken.

Defence barrister Miss Bathsheba Cassel had questioned why this would be so if Borrett was guilty, as he already had a key, although it was suggested by the prosecution it was a "way to deflect attention away from him, by suggesting somebody actually broke into the club."

On entering, Mr Frew found a singed sweatshirt and seats in an apparent attempt to start fires, but they had not taken hold. The gas hobs in the kitchen had also been turned on.

Mr Frew then discovered the takings from the previous two days were missing from the safe, but the clubhouse gambling machine - which he had only emptied the previous day - contained £520, including a £20 Scottish note that had been in Wednesday's takings.

Electronic data from the machine showed money had been last put in it at 2.51am that day.

The jury was also told that three cigarette butts, all containing an exact match of Borrett's DNA, were found on the floor next to the gambling machine, although it was impossible to date these.

Various witnesses from the club had acknowledged to the court that while the smoking ban was in place, it was not uncommon for anyone remaining after hours to have a cigarette.

Miss Cassell, for the defence, reminded the jury that they had been told the clubhouse was only "probably" cleaned earlier that day and added: "We do not know the age of those cigarette butts."

She also argued that there was no evidence to put Borrett at the clubhouse at the time of the crimes, with no witness and nothing on the CCTV.

"The defendant was the last person seen at the clubhouse. Somebody will always be the last innocent person at a crime scene," she added.

She said Borrett "does not dispute offences were committed that night," but "he simply says it was not him that committed them."

However, counsel for the prosecution Gareth Evans spoke of the "common sense" decision and told the jury: "I respectfully invite you to say that this is a case that does what it says on the tin."

To the audible distress of his family, Borrett was found guilty of theft and arson by a unanimous jury.

He was bailed until Thursday, when he will be sentenced, with Judge Simon Carr warned him: "He needs to understand the most likely sentence is custodial."