Librarian is spared jail

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A FORMER college boss from Wigan who spent thousands of pounds on groceries and cigarettes using her work credit card has been spared jail.

Library boss Angela Hobley used her work Barclaycard – which should only have been used for ordering student supplies – to fund shopping sprees at Tesco, Asda, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

But she was rumbled when college chiefs became suspicious about the lack of receipts for her purchases and when she was found to have used the card to pay online for a £118 grocery shop – which she had not only arranged to have delivered to her Highfield home, but had signed for in person.

St Helens Magistrates’ Court heard how Hobley, 36, was first given the credit card in 2008 so she could buy essential books, DVDs and supplies for Carmel College in St Helens – regularly one of the top sixth form colleges in the North West.

But Angela Blackmore, prosecuting, told how Hobley suddenly stopped providing receipts for her purchases in March 2012.

In an email to the college’s finance manager, Hobley claimed that she hadn’t followed the correct procedure and admitted her embarrassment.

But a subsequent investigation found that more than £10,000 worth of purchases had been made between July 2011 and the end of April last year in which receipts had not been produced.

Hobley resigned from her position on May 14 last year.

In a police interview, Hobley said she had no debts and that her partner also had a good job.

She admitted that her actions had been motivated “purely by greed” and told how she felt unable to stop after getting away with it once.

Dave Achilles, defending Hobley, claimed the figure which his client stole was considerably lower than £10,000. She pleaded guilty to stealing £3,148.59.

He told how Hobley, of Aveley Gardens, had never been in trouble before and had previously lived a comfortable lifestyle.

Mr Achilles added that his client must have known that she would get caught out sooner or later and said it was “remarkable” that it went on for as long as it did.

Magistrates described the matter as “a very serious offence” and handed Hobley a 16-week jail sentence – suspended for 12 months.

They also ordered her to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £85 towards court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

No award was made for compensation as the college is already in the process of recovering the stolen cash.