The former clerk was dismissed and charged with stealing £222,000 and pleaded guilty to stealing £162,000 from the Town Council at Winchester Crown Court on 4 September 2013, £110,000 from changing the payee on cheques, £45,000 from extra salary payments and £7,000 through fraudulent expenses claims.

The former clerk has been sentenced to jail for 28 months and 14 months were suspended.

The fraud started in April 2007 and continued until the clerk was suspended from her £46,000-a-year post in December 2012. The clerk had also served as chairman and treasurer of the Hampshire Society of Local Councils, admitted one count of fraud by abuse of position.

Judge Linda Sullivan said...

'In May 2006, you were employed by Whitehill Town Council as the town council clerk and financial officer.

'You had a salary of £46,000 pounds. Nevertheless, in April 2007 you started to behave in a sophisticated and fraudulent way to obtain 162,000 pounds from Whitehill Town Council.

'Of that figure, £110,000 was obtained by altering cheques using a fabric pen. But once your cheques were signed you removed the correct name by heating the ink.

'You were finally dismissed in December 2012 and it seems you spent the money on holidays, expensive handbags and nail manicures.

'I have no doubt that you maximised the ease of how you were able to take this money and you did so in a sophisticated fashion.'

The Proceeds of crime hearing, in which the Town Council were hoping to recover some of the stolen money, was held on 21 February 2014. This hearing decided that the former clerk should repay just over £70,000 to the Council, she has 6 months to repay this money.

The Public interest report however paints a slightly different picture detailing significant failings by Whitehill Town Council...

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