A BAKERY firm with alleged links to the criminal underworld has been forced to pay a former employee £13,000 in a row over pies.

Delivery driver Robert McColl, of Glasgow, successfully sued Mortons Rolls for unfair dismissal after he was sacked amid claims he was selling the meat products on the side from his company van.

The Drumchapel-based firm -which was raided by police in 2012 - also believed Mr McColl was undercutting the business and selling direct to its customers, but an employment tribunal ruled there was insufficient evidence to support either of the claims.

Employment judge Lucy Wiseman said bosses at the bakery had "jumped to conclusions" over the driver's conduct and that their disciplinary investigation was "lacking."

The tribunal heard that issues surrounding the pies began several years ago when the firm switched suppliers. A number of customers did not like the new pies and one shop in particular threatened to cancel its order with Mortons.

Mr McColl was authorised by the company's transport manager, George Walker, to buy pies from the old supplier, Pars, and include them in the delivery to this customer.

A judgment in the case stated: "(Mr McColl) for a period of two or three years went directly to Pars Foods to purchase pies for delivery to one particular shop. This became widely known and he was asked by other drivers and customers to get Pars pies.

"(Mr McColl) would contact the office to inform them of these orders and receive authority from Mr Walker to obtain the products for delivery to the customers."

In July last year, Mortons reinstated its contract with Pars and Mr McColl was told to cancel his direct order with the company, which he did.

However, following a complaint from Pars, an investigation was launched into his conduct. This uncovered that on some occasions when he was making collections for Mortons, Mr McColl also picked up orders for his nephew, who runs a small business. The tribunal was told this contributed to Morton's believing the driver was selling the products himself.

In a letter issued to the driver in October last year, the firm wrote: "It is alleged that you have been trading on your own account during your working hours and/or using our company van to do so. It is also alleged that you have been working in direct competition with us by trading with our existing customers or others that could reasonably be expected to be customers of ours if you were not trading with them.

"Your alleged behaviour... constitutes a gross breach of trust and confidence."

Mr McColl, who now works as a taxi driver, was dismissed in February after 19 years with Mortons.

Judge Wiseman ruled his dismissal was unfair as the bakery did not properly investigate the accusations against him and bosses were unclear of exactly what misconduct he was guilty.

The driver was awarded £12,853 and Mortons was also ordered to pay his tribunal fees of £1,200.

Mortons Rolls has been plagued with controversy over the last two years, amid accusations of criminal activity by shareholder John Aire.

Mr Aire, along with his wife Morag and three other men, have been reported to the procurator fiscal following a police inquiry which saw the firm's HQ raided in 2012. They are believed to be facing charges of bribery and money laundering. Mr Aire has been acquitted of a drugs charge in the past.

A Crown Office spokesman said the report in the current case remains under consideration.

A spokesman for Mortons Rolls said the firm is "considering the decision" of the tribunal.