HAVANT & Waterlooville have suspended assistant manager Sean New – just a month after recruiting him from AFC Totton.

New, an integral part of Stuart Ritchie’s eight successful years at the Totton helm, was the natural choice to join him at Blue Square Bet South outfit Havant when Ritchie was appointed manager on May 8.

But two days later The Daily Echo reported that New, from Weston Lane, Southampton, had just escaped a prison term for theft and fraud after being convicted of stealing from the firm he worked for.

He was handed a three-month jail sentence – suspended for 12 months – and ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid community work as part of his punishment.

Havant were aware of this and were prepared to go ahead with the appointment.

But, according to Hawks secretary Trevor Brock, the club has now suspended the 42-year-old for not divulging “certain disclosures” from his past which turned up as a result of an internal investigation.

Brock explained: “The club appointed New in good faith.

“But afterwards certain matters have come to light which the club have to take very seriously.

“Because of this it is best that New is suspended forthwith.

“The club were aware of his recent court appearance and conviction for theft, but it transpires New has kept certain disclosures in his past from us.

“We feel as his employer these matters are material to his employment.

“The club believe these matters would have an adverse and detrimental effect on our reputation, the supporters and the general public.

“Over the years we have built up an exemplary reputation within the non-League game and we regard that as important.

“We are not prepared to put that at risk.”

New is likely to depart, leaving Ritchie to find a new right-hand man.

That will come as enormous blow to Ritchie who spoke glowingly of his assistant last October after Totton had honoured the management duo with a special award for reaching 400 games in charge.

“Sean makes a great second in command because he’s a strong character and he grafts all the time,” he said. “We work well together and I wouldn’t want anyone else.

“Sean takes a lot of pressure off me with all the running about he does. People don’t give him enough credit for all the work he does.”

Ritchie and New certainly made a winning team at Totton, leading the Stags to the FA Vase final at Wembley in 2007, the Wessex League and Southern One South & West titles, two Hampshire FA Senior Cup wins, the Southern Premier play-off final and a first ever appearance in the FA Cup second round proper.

Havant, meanwhile, say there is no chance of former Woking striker Elvis Hammond moving to Westleigh Park.

Hammond pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge at Oxford Crown Court earlier this month.