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Administrator at school splashed out £65K on luxury goods after fiddling books

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AN administrator at a pre-school splashed out £65,000 on luxury goods after fiddling the books, a court has heard.

Claire Precious bought a horse saddle pack, perfume, window blinds and a water dispenser.

A Devon pre-school was brought to financial ruin by an administrator who plundered its savings to buy herself luxury goods

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A Devon pre-school was brought to financial ruin by an administrator who plundered its savings to buy herself luxury goodsCredit: BPM

She also got a new sofa and gave the school her old one, and awarded herself a £10,000 pay rise.

The married mum of three was in sole charge of finances at charity-run Bassetts Farm School in Exmouth, Devon, for five years.

She was arrested in 2023 after suspicious staff called police.

School chiefs told the court her actions were ‘utterly abhorrent and shameful’ and she bought ‘luxury non essential items’ and jeopardised the future of six paid staff members and 50 children.

Miss Rachel Smith, defending, said: “She knew she would get caught, it was not a sophisticated offence. She deeply regrets her actions, she got no thrill from her dishonest behaviour.”

Miss Smith asked why she did it and Judge James Adkin said: “Because she is greedy.”

Judge Adkin sentenced her to two years in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered her to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work.

He said she made 220 purchases from Amazon worth £3,500 plus many more from Argos and other stores to a total value of £65,000.

At Exeter crown court Precious, 49, admitted fraud and got two years in jail, suspended, and 220 hours unpaid work.

The court heard she had no previous convictions and admitted her offending in police interviews.

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