National Autistic Society employee pleads guilty to theft

Julie Robb stole more than £20,000 from the charity's beneficiaries

A former employee of the National Autistic Society has pleaded guilty to stealing more than £20,000 from five autistic adults in the charity's care.

Julie Robb, 53, who was a finance officer at the Lancashire branch of the NAS from 1999 to 2007, has been charged with 14 counts of theft and has admitted to five, Burnley Crown Court heard.

Robb was suspended and dismissed from the NAS for gross misconduct after standard internal checking procedures brought the thefts to light. The charity reported the incident to Lancashire police, who arrested Robb at her home in Rishton, near Blackburn, in October 2007.

The police said Robb had pleaded guilty to stealing a total of between £22,000 and £23,000 from five individuals, around half of which she had already repaid to the charity. She denies all the other charges.

"None of the residents at the service will suffer any personal loss as a consequence of this incident," said a spokeswoman for the charity. "The NAS places absolute importance on the security and wellbeing of all people in our care, including with regard to their financial affairs."

Robb will be sentenced on 5 June.

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