Ipswich: �20k Manor Ballrooms thief ordered to pay back just �1

A WOMAN who stole more than �20,000 from an Ipswich social club has been ordered to pay back a nominal �1 because she hasn’t got any assets.

Michelle Smyth, 24, of Neath Drive, Ipswich was jailed for 14 months earlier this year after she admitted stealing �24,000 from the Manor Ballroom Social Club at St Margaret’s Green between November 2008 and January 2009.

At a confiscation hearing, which Smyth declined to attend, Ipswich Crown Court heard that although Smyth had benefited from the theft by �21,568 the amount available to be confiscated from her was just �1, and therefore a confiscation order was made in that sum.

At an earlier hearing the court heard that Smyth’s father Anthony Smyth, 76, of Gippeswyk Road, Ipswich, was the club’s treasurer and she had stolen the money after offering to bank it for him.

Investigations revealed that �21,000 in cash and three cheques totalling �3,000 should have been paid into the club’s account but hadn’t gone in.

Smyth’s barrister had told the court that Smyth used the money to “get by” and pay off her debts and hadn’t spent the cash on a lavish lifestyle.

Des Hindle, secretary and treasurer of the Manor Ballroom, previously told The Evening Star the theft had caused financial problems for the club, but that it had now recovered.

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He said: “To be honest I think it was a despicable thing to do.

“I’m relieved that it has all been dealt with, but I’m still angry that she’s stolen all this money, money the club could really do with.”

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