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Peppa Pig bubble bath boss jailed

A firm making Peppa Pig bubble bath nearly went under — after its finance chief conned a bank out of more than £600,000 to cover his incompetence.

Bruce Cox, 62 — a decorated former Army lieutenant colonel — blew a fortune buying six times too much stock for themed products firm Kokomo Ltd.

To bring in cash to cover his error, he created fake invoices, which HSBC bank usually paid 80% of upfront before suppliers settled later.

Cox — who also organised stewards for the Wimbledon tennis championships — told directors he had produced ‘a false invoice or two’ but ‘hoped to get away with it’.

Prosecutor James Bruce said: ‘HSBC could, he hoped, be paid back through the directors or assurance of credit before they realised.’

Cox told the company owners he was liaising with the bank — but failed to do so.

When bank chiefs discovered the con in 2018, they stopped the upfront payment process, the firm’s credit rating sank and two directors had to quit.

Mr Bruce said the fraud ‘pushed the company into debt of over £2million’.

None of the £628,558 obtained by false invoices went to Cox personally.

One character witness for Cox — who did eight tours including Iraq and Kosovo — called him ‘exemplary’ and able to ‘manoeuvre in any environment’.

Mr Bruce said: ‘Well, he did just that.’

Cox, of Salisbury, admitted fraud and was jailed for 40 months at Oxford crown court.

Judge Michael Gledhill called the con’s impact ‘horrific’, adding the firm ‘almost went to the wall’.

Jonathan Underhill, mitigating, said: ‘This is a catastrophic lapse of judgment and decision making, which will affect him for the rest of his life.’

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