Published: 12:00, 22 February 2016 |
Updated: 12:23, 22 February 2016
Office manager Yvonne Pucknell made frequent trips to the supermarket to buy food for her primary school’s ‘Breakfast Club”.
Only when an official took a closer look at the bill...it included meat...and alcohol!”
The school’s credit card had also been used for items at Pets At Home...only Ashford's Phoenix Community Primary School didn’t have any animals!
That triggered an investigation into how the school’s credit cards were being used.
And that led police to discover the 62-year-old mother had been paying for a hotel stay, presents for her daughter, a Playstation console and her fuel bills, totaling in all more than £9,600!
But a court has heard that it wasn’t only Pucknell, of Bybrook Close, Kennington who was using the cards illegally...so was its former head teacher, Robert Juniper.
Now the two have received suspended jail sentences at Canterbury Crown Court after admitting fraud charges.
Juniper, of Jubilee Field, Upchurch, near Sittingbourne, had helped himself to cash as a “free” loan intending to repay it, the judge was told.
Prosecutor Adam Wolstenholme said the two had admitted “fraud by abuse of position” while working for Kent County Council at the school in Belmont Road, Kennington.
He said the cards were used illegally between Jan 2011 and April 2013 and the scam was only discovered when Juniper’s successor Frances Nation queried accounts which had been officially audited.
The prosecutor said he discovered a discrepancy in the figures relating to how the school’s two credit cards were being used by the head and office manager.
“They were supposed to be for school use but Pucknell had used one of the cards for her own use paying for £2117 petrol, for food items at supermarkets, buying working tools, a hotel stay in Belfast, and payments to Amazon.
“The school accounts had been amended to claim library books had been bought through Amazon. “
But Mr Wolstenholme revealed that a Playstation and “collectibles” had been bought for Pucknell’s daughter using the card.
Juniper, who was working at Knockall Community Primary School inGreenhithe when the offences were discovered, disputed the amount he was alleged to have taken.
He claimed he only took £651 but the prosecution say the figure is nearer £4228, the court heard.
Guy Wyatt, for Pucknell, said she now planned to repay the money from herKCC pension.
“The reality is she will never work again, never be trusted again by anyone in relation to keeping financial records and she has now retired.”
Martin Khoshdel, for Juniper, 57, said he had been “stupid and naive” and has since repaid more than £4200.
“You were regarded as pillars of society but you took credit cards and used them to fund you own lifestyles" - Recorder Mark Ockelton
“He accepts he made purchases at that time which were not for the school but intended paying it back. He is extremely remorseful.”
The judge, Recorder Mark Ockelton gave Pucknell a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered her to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
He said: “The presents you gave your daughter were not acts of generosity but acts of fraud.”
Juniper was given a 30-week jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 150 hours of community work.
He added: “You were regarded as pillars of society but you took credit cards and used them to fund you own lifestyles.”
Don't miss out, subscribe today. Keep up to date with our newsletters.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.