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Wentworth Primary School PTA treasurer pleads guilty to £5,500 fraud from PTA fund

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A treasurer siphoned off thousands of pounds from a fund meant to provide school children with extra treats, a court heard.

Hayley Foord, 33, of Cugley Road, Stone, wrote cheques to herself totalling £5,500 from Wentworth Primary School's Parent Teacher Association.

Hayley Foord pleaded guilty to fraud
Hayley Foord pleaded guilty to fraud

She pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on Monday.

She originally denied the charge but after finding out the matter was to be dealt with by magistrates, and not referred to the crown court, her solicitor, Ms Watson, advised the bench that Foord intended to change her plea.

In a magistrates' court, the maximum sentence that can be imposed on an adult defendant for any single offence is six months' imprisonment. It can also issue fines or community sentences.

A crown court can impose much tougher penalties, including a prison sentence anywhere between 12 months and 10 years for fraud.

The court's legal advisor said: "Between January 1 and January 23 last year, you committed fraud while you held the position of treasurer for the Wentworth Primary School PTA.

The hearing was at Sevenoaks' Magistrates Court
The hearing was at Sevenoaks' Magistrates Court

"You were expected to safeguard the financial interests of the association, however you dishonourably abused your position by writing cheques to yourself to the sum of £5,500."

It was also heard Foord's solicitor had not had access to all eight witness statements and appropriate exhibits in relation to the case.

It was therefore agreed to adjourn proceedings so Foord's legal team could review the information before sentencing on April 27 at Medway Magistrates' Court. She was released on unconditional bail.

No further detail was given during the hearing.

In a statement afterwards, Paul Langridge, who is head teacher of the Dartford school, said: "When the bank alerted the school to suspected fraudulent activity involving PTA (Parent and Teacher Association) funds, we acted quickly and immediately investigated.

"Police were informed and we've liaised with them throughout the legal process.

"I am pleased the PTA member responsible for this action has been brought to justice. Our PTA does some fantastic work organising events and raising money so our pupils can enjoy many additional activities, resources and treats, and it is those children who would be negatively impacted by this type of crime."

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