Disappointment at suspended sentence for former charity employee

Creative Support service director funded 'shopping addiction' by stealing £53,000 from care charity

Manchester social care charity Creative Support said it was "surprised and disappointed" that a former service director who stole nearly £53,000 to finance a shopping addiction escaped a custodial sentence.

Lynne Greenwood was given an 11-month suspended sentence at Manchester Crown Court on Monday after pleading guilty to pocketing money she claimed as expenses for charitable projects over a 20-month period.

Her crime was finally discovered in 2007 after staff became suspicious. Greenwood's lawyer told the court that, although she earned nearly £53,000 a year, she had built up large debts because of her compulsive buying of shoes and clothes.

Anna Lunts, chief executive of Creative Support, said a custodial sentence would have been "entirely justified". But she said she was glad Greenwood had been given until the middle of May to repay the stolen funds out of assets frozen by the court.

"If she fails to repay the money she will have to serve a custodial sentence," said Lunts. "In the circumstances, we have every expectation that the stolen money will be repaid."

She said the charity's financial procedures had been reviewed by independent auditors to make sure a similar incident could not happen again.

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