Community order for treasurer who stole £3,000 from charity

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A CHARITY volunteer has admitted stealing more than £3,000 of the organisation’s money.

Ann Hey, 45, of Hawick, pleaded guilty to taking the cash from Troutbeck Social Committee between 2006 and 2010 when she appeared at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court.

She was ordered to complete a 12-month community order, 120 hours’ unpaid work and undergo 12 months’ supervision after she admitted a string of fraud offences.

The court heard Hey was the committee’s treasurer and she gained money from charity cheques she forged.

Additionally, she stole £1,224 gathered through fund-raisers, which she put into her bank instead of the charity’s account.

Lisa O’Loughlin, prosecuting, said other volunteers never checked the accounts as the “ethos of the organisation was built on trust” and so no-one noticed money going missing until Hey moved out of the area last year, the court heard.

Another committee official then reviewed the accounts and was a bit suspicious when Hey did not hand over any bank statements. He contacted the bank and soon uncovered Hey’s fraudulent actions.

In mitigation, Paul Anthony said: “She realised [when she was about to move away] what she had taken would be found out and so borrowed the money off a friend to pay back some of what she had stolen.

“She is extremely remorseful for what she has done and has now paid back all that was taken.”

Mr Anthony said she had taken the money to help pay for accommodation for her two sons, one of whom was at university and the other struggling to pay his rent.

District judge Gerald Chalk said he decided on a very high-level community order due to the substantial losses to the charity organisation and the number of years she was dishonest.