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Former Swale council worker, James Thatcher, sent to crown court

Swale's former sports development manager James Thatcher
Swale's former sports development manager James Thatcher

A former top council worker charged with thefts and fraud totalling nearly £8,500 has been committed to crown court.

As Swale’s sports development manager, James Thatcher was well-known in the borough’s sporting community.

The charges relate to four counts of alleged fraud by abuse of position totalling £7,632 between December 2008 and October 2012 and one of theft to the value of £785.81 between March 2012 and January 2013.

The 46-year-old, formerly of Barler Place, Queenborough, appeared at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday where it was decided the case should be passed on to crown court.

Wearing a grey fleece, the father-of-three was barely audible when he spoke to confirm his name, age and address. No plea was entered.

The court heard how Thatcher, of Premier Way, Kemsley, was accused of a “systematic theft and abuse of trust”.

In his role he would take registration and match day fees from players as well as donations from members of the public.

He is alleged to have then kept this cash for himself but paid the money owed to Swale council from the accounts of the various sporting clubs.

Swale has declined to comment.

Thatcher was released on bail and is due to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday, November 1, for a preliminary hearing.

The conditions of his release are that he does not to contact witnesses who are parents, players or anyone associated with Kent Spitfires, Gore Court and Swale cricket clubs and Range Rovers FC.

Police were initially called in December when concerns were first raised regarding money allegedly going missing.

Thatcher was arrested and released on police bail until Wednesday, September 18, when he was officially charged.

He is a former manager of Sheppey Leisure Complex and was instrumental in various sporting initiatives across Swale.

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