Trusted social club administrator jailed for “mean” theft of £30,000

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A trusted administrator of a Norfolk social club who stole more than £30,000 has been jailed for 12 months and made to promise to keep away from the club in future.

Daphne Townsend served as trustee and was then appointed administrator at the Acle War Memorial and Social Club but started to arouse suspicions when the treasurer realised cash from members was going missing, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Townsend, 58, of The Street, Acle, admitted theft of £30,845 over a seven month period and said she had taken the cash to pay off debts.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said it was discovered that Townsend had taken the cash in a number of ways including failing to pay takings into the bank and on one occasion she had paid herself her salary twice.

He said the thefts caused a lot of stress and upset for other social club volunteers and members.

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Jailing her, Judge Anthony Bate told her that her actions had been a 'breach of trust' but said it was also a 'very mean offence.'

'You were raiding the money that you were responsible for to pay off personal debts.'

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He said she had exploited the system in place to steal and said: 'It could not last forever. It never can,'

He said her actions could have put at risk a valuable village asset.

He adjourned a confiscation hearing until November 8 to try to claw back some of the stolen cash but after hearing that the social club wanted to make sure she never returned to the club, he got Townsend to undertake that she will not try to revisit the club in the future.

Judge Bate warned her that if she did she would be in contempt of court.

Jude Durr, for Townsend, said she had fully co-operated with the investigation and had pleaded guilty.

'She has co-operated from first to last with the investigation of this offence.'

He said she had taken some money but then it had 'snowballed.'

Mr Durr said that it had not been a sophisticated offence and said she was at low risk of re-offending.

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