Assets frozen for playgroup thief

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

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The treasurer of a Coningsby pre-school play group who was jailed, after she admitted stealing £30,000 from the organisation, has had her available assets confiscated by a judge.

Judge Michael Heath, sitting at Lincoln Crown Court, ordered that Tracey Clark should hand over her realisable assets of £465 in a case heard at the end of last week. She was given six months to pay and will face a 14-day prison sentence in default.

The judge ruled that Clark, who was the former treasurer of the Jacdor Group, benefited from her crimes by £31,543.

Clark, 43, of Ingham Road, Coningsby, was jailed for 18 months at a hearing last year. She admitted three charges of theft between January 2009 and August 2011.

The earlier hearing was told that she stole so much money that the future of the play group, which catered for 60 youngsters, was put at risk.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, told the previous hearing that Clark stole money both in cash and by electronically transferring money into her own account. She then lied to fellow committee members and staff to explain why wages were not paid on time.

“She was a voluntary treasurer at this nursery. This crime put a valuable community resource in dire jeopardy. She substantially abused the trust of the community and the parents,” he said.

The organisation was subsequently de-registered by the Charities Commission, due to Clark’s failure to submit accounts within the deadline.

Marilyn Hawkins, the new chair of Jacdor, launched an investigation which revealed money was missing and Clark was challenged about the matter.

Mr Howes said “The defendant went quiet. She then said she would try to repay the money.”

He told the court that Jacdor has managed to continue in existence as a result of the efforts of others involved in the group.

The court heard that Clark was in financial difficulties when she took the money and used the cash to meet debts.