East India Club
Members of the East India Club include Nigel Farage and Sebastian Coe Google Street View

A fraudster who admitted stealing more than £500,000 from British establishment the East India Club has been jailed for three years.

Alfonso Ramirez pleaded guilty to ransacking the accounts of the private west London club, whose members include Sebastian Coe and Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and was previously the refuge of 19th and 20th-century politicians including Lord Randolph Churchill - father of Sir Winston.

In total, the 41-year-old treasurer stole £553,129.52 from the gentleman's club over a four-year period and was given his sentence at Southwark Crown Court, having previously pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position. Ramirez has since repaid £38,000 but the rest has been gambled away, the court heard.

He managed the swindle by transferring £536,600 into his bank account from that of the East India Club between January 2010 and January this year.

Ramirez also defrauded a further £16,529.52 from the private members' venue by overpaying his own salary.

In January, officers from Westminster Major Crime Unit received an allegation of fraud from the club, which was founded in London's exclusive St James's Park in 1849. Ramirez was arrested the same day on suspicion of employee theft.

He was charged in July and pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates' Court that same month.

Detective Constable Russell Farmer said: "A trusted and well-treated employee, over a period of four years, Alfonso Gabriel Ramirez breached the trust of the East India Club by stealing £553,129.52 to fund a serious gambling addiction. Today's sentence reflects this breach of trust and serves as a further deterrent to others in similar positions."