School left 'betrayed' by bursar's £56k con

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A school says it has been ‘completely betrayed’ by a treasurer who syphoned £56,000 to spend on shopping sprees.

Susan McDiarmid, 52, of Firs Avenue, Ashton, was spared a jail sentence after pleading guilty to five counts of fraud and one count of theft.

She was instead handed a two-year suspended jail term at Minshull Street Crown Court.

McDiarmid took thousands of pounds from Waterloo Primary School in Ashton, over almost six years, in her role as a bursar for several schools across Tameside.

She said she had stolen the cash because she felt ‘undervalued’.

Treasurer stole £56k in ‘revenge’ on Tameside school bosses

Speaking after the sentencing, Waterloo’s headteacher Lesley Ironmonger said: “The school community feels completely betrayed by her actions, which represented a serious breach in trust.

“But it’s the children who she let down the most, as she took money which was solely intended for helping to meet their educational needs.

“It’s upsetting that she has tried to blame her crime on feeling ‘undervalued’ - she earned a £24,645 annual salary and I frequently gave her cards, gifts and flowers to thank her for work as well as fully supporting her through illness.”

The court heard how McDiarmid used cheques and school credit cards to filter money away from the school between January 2006 and October 2011. as well as purchasing electrical goods for herself from the school accounts.

The fraud unravelled when Tameside council carried out an audit after McDiarmid left her position in November 2011 – she was arrested shortly after.

It emerged she had cashed a total of 14 fraudulent cheques by forging the signatures of colleagues and convincing Mrs Ironmonger to sign blank cheques, saying it would allow more efficient transactions during school holidays.

The court heard McDiarmid, who worked for Tameside council for more than 20 years, went on spending sprees at Argos and other high street stores as she sought a ‘better life for her family’.

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