Mystery over spending at French supermarket and Spanish airport

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A NUMBER of unusual payments on Joe McCarthy’s corporate credit card included a bill paid at a supermarket in a picturesque fishing port in south-west France.

The £79.15 payment at a branch of Carrefour in St Jean De Luc was made in the summer of 2008 and was followed on the same August day by a small payment to the airport car park in Bilbao, just over the border in Spain.

It is not known why public money was spent in a French supermarket. Cleveland Police Authority is declining to comment on individual items of expenditure on the former chief executive’s credit card.

The card was also used at UK supermarkets, particularly branches of Tesco in Cleveland which received payments totalling £433.

The biggest payment on the card – £1,579.56 – was to a company that specialises in installing luxury car audio systems. The money was paid to Turner Alarms and Audio in Sunderland, which specialises “in creating bespoke audio systems” according to its website. The company does also provide other services, including alarms and other car gadgetry.

Other unusual payments included two made at Ikea in Gateshead, one of £64.04 and another of £39.90, when the card was used on a Sunday.

A payment of £58.99 was made to Shopeezee, an online luggage provider, and more than £200 was spent at florists, including one payment of £124 to Shirley Mullen Bow Kay in Billingham, in Cleveland.

A jewellery shop in Yarm – Market Cross Jewellers – received a payment of £130. It is not known if this payment related to a retirement gift, although such spending is still understood to have not been considered permissable.

There was also a payment of £27.55 to Wynyard Golf Club based in the grounds of the Wynyard estate, near Billingham.

It is not known if this was to pay for a round of golf or for other facilities at the club which include a luxury restaurant.