Abracadabra! Moonlighting magician's job vanishes

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - An insurance manager who took six months off work because of illness was fired after he was discovered moonlighting as children’s magician “Mr Hocus-Pocus”, his employer said on Tuesday.

Legal and General said Peter Hopkins had already been warned once about taking on extra employment on sick days. In 2004 he was caught working as a wizard while he was off with flu. They said they had little choice once one of their staff saw him performing again while attending a christening.

“She saw him performing and informed his line manager, and this sadly has been the outcome,” said a spokeswoman. “We can’t have people being paid to be off sick and having employment elsewhere.”

Hopkins took Legal and General to an employment tribunal but lost, with the tribunal ruling the firm had acted fairly. British newspapers quoted him as saying he was putting his magic career on hold as he looked for another job.

He did not answer his mobile phone on Tuesday, but his website continued to offer his services and availability nationally and internationally.

Newspapers reproduced pictures of the bespectacled manager in green and gold robes and pointed hat clutching a book of magic spells with a moon and star on its black cover.

“He certainly getting some good advertising now,” the Legal and General spokeswoman said.

Editing by Paul Casciato