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Bank manager stole £50,000 from scouts

PUBLISHED: 04:30 03 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich bank manager has today been jailed for stealing nearly £50,000 from a local scout group.

Michael Gillingham, 47, was sent to prison for 15 months by Judge Peter Thompson at Ipswich Crown Court.

AN Ipswich bank manager has today been jailed for stealing nearly £50,000 from a local scout group.

Michael Gillingham, 47, was sent to prison for 15 months by Judge Peter Thompson at Ipswich Crown Court.

Gillingham pleaded guilty to five charges of theft, totalling more than £48,000 over an eight-year period.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, told the court that Gillingham stole the money while he was treasurer for the 29th Ipswich Scout Group based at Sprites Junior School and branch manager of the Co-operative Bank in Ipswich.

The court heard that Gillingham of Radcliffe Drive, had borrowed money from the bank and became further in debt as the interest grew.

Ian Dyble mitigating said in 1996 Gillingham was earning £1,200 but paying £900 a month interest on the loan. By October 2001 the interest had risen to £1,800 a month.

Mr Dyble said that Gillingham would pay money received by the scout group into his own bank account to cover the charges and then pay the money back when he was paid.

However, there came a time when he was unable to pay the money back. "He could not face his family and become clinically depressed," added Mr Dyble.

He said Gillingham tried to kill himself by taking paracetamol and alcohol, but ended up in hospital with kidney and liver failure.

Mr Dyble said he then went to the police and admitted what he had done. Gillingham was declared bankrupt in March.

The court heard that Gillingham who is married to a teacher and has two children aged 18 and 17 was a governor at Sprites Infants and Junior Schools and was of previous good character.

Judge Thompson said Gillingham became treasurer of the scout group in 1991 and bank manager in 1992 and for about "eight years took advantage of his situation".

He added: "You spent about £100 a week using other people's money for your own satisfaction. It was a very long period of deceit and dishonesty. I have a public duty to send you to prison."

The court heard that the Co-operative Bank reimbursed the Scout Group for their loss.


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