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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Cumbrian nursery treasurer ordered to pay back £60k

A former nursery treasurer has been ordered to pay nearly £60,000 after stealing from the pre-school to settle huge credit card debts.

Gillian Clark photo
Gillian Clark

Gillian Clark will have to sell her house to pay the Proceeds of Crime debt, Carlisle Crown Court heard, after she pocketed cheques and cash from the Wigton nursery over four years.

Clark narrowly escaped jail last July after she wrote cheques to herself, and one in her husband’s name, leaving the Longthwaite Road nursery struggling to survive.

The 40-year-old, from Standingstone Heights, Wigton, admitted seven charges of theft after taking £15,396.17 in cheques and £6,361.75 in wages, making a total of £21,757.92.

She was caught after two other women took charge of the accounts for the charitable nursery and noticed discrepancies.

Prosecutor Alan Lovett said Clark wrote a cheque for £1,200 for herself, believing she would be able to repay it. That didn’t happen and “matters continued”, he said.

“She had a good relationship with her husband but knew he didn’t like credit,” he said at an earlier hearing.

Prosecutor Alan Lovett told the court yesterday that it had been calculated the total benefit from the crime was £40,000. He said Clark would, on top of that payment, also have to pay £19,088.34 in compensation to the nursery.

He said Clark had realisable assets of £59,804.97 from the sale of a house.

Rod Halligan, defending, said the figures had been agreed and asked for six months to pay in order to sell the house.

Judge Paul Batty QC told Clark she was guilty of a gross breach of trust and officially certified the benefit figure of £40,000. He also ordered her to pay £19,088.34 in compensation. She was given six months to pay and warned she could be jailed for 18 months if she didn’t.

The court heard previously how the nursery had resorted to asking parents to bring in supplies such as wipes, having been so badly hit by the theft.

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