Leeds primary school worker ordered to pay back £13,000 of ill-gotten gains

Claire Mosby
Claire Mosby
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A primary school worker who stole more than £30,000 of school funds to finance her addiction to bingo has been ordered to pay back £13,000 of her ill-gotten gains.

Claire Mosby returned to court yesterday after completing a prison sentence to face a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The mother-of-three was jailed for two years in January last year after being found guilty by a jury of theft.

Mosby, 39, was branded “reprehensible” by placing her colleagues under suspicion during her two-year deception at Swarcliffe Primary School.

Mosby - a former pupil and parent governor at the east Leeds school - worked as office manager when she stole cash from the safe between 2009 and 2011.

The cash was funds collected for school dinners, takings from the school’s nursery, breakfast club, after school club and a voluntary fund, made up of contributions to pay for extras such as school trips.

Instead of banking the takings Mosby used it to fund her online gambling and bingo habit.

Leeds Crown Court heard Mosby benefitted by £36,352 from her offending. The court heard she now has just £13,300 available in assets.

Judge Christopher Batty ordered Mosby to pay the amount within six months or face a further jail sentence of up to 12 months.

Graham Parkin, for Mosby, of Swarcliffe Avenue, said his client faced the possibility of losing her home in order to repay the amount.

Sentencing Mosby last year, Judge Batty said: “Swarcliffe Primary School is the heart of the community in which you and your family still live.

“The money that you stole represents the monies collected by the school from parents in the school. Money you know only too well they could ill-afford to give in the first place.”

He added: “I’m afraid it comes down to this - you did not care. Your need was too great.”

On the weekend before the deception was about to be discovered Mosby went into the school and put a spare key in safe in a bid to cover her tracks.

The following day she went to the police to report cash being stolen.

The judge said those actions amounted to Mosby “laying down your defence”. He added: “No one needs to tell you how reprehensible your behaviour is.”

A jury took two hours to unanimously find Mosby guilty of theft after the trial at Leeds Crown Court in November, 2012.

During the trial Mosby denied the offence. She claimed she had known cash was going missing but did not report it as she would be putting head teacher Susan Sanderson under pressure.

The jury heard suspicions were first raised by a council-employed school finance officer over low income levels in the school’s dinner money account.

In March 2011 the school’s safe was searched and envelopes, which had Mosby’s hand writing on, were found to have money missing.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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