Mum-of-three stole from Locking Stumps pre-school to pay online bingo debts

Mum-of-three stole from Locking Stumps pre-school to pay online bingo debts

Mum-of-three stole from Locking Stumps pre-school to pay online bingo debts

First published in News
Last updated

A PRE-SCHOOL was almost forced to close after a mum-of-three siphoned off cash from its account to help pay her online bingo debts.

Wendy White, aged 35, of Bracken Close, Birchwood, stole £2,212.18 from Locking Stumps Pre-School after signing cheques to herself to help pay off part of her gambling debts which ran in to the region of tens of thousands.

Warrington Crown Court heard on Friday how the first the school knew of any problem was when money in its accounts ran dry.

John Oates, prosecuting, said: “White was responsible for the financial affairs and was one of two people authorised to sign cheques on the school account.

“The co-sign was advised by the bank on May 16 that a cheque had bounced.

“She was quite sure it shouldn’t have bounced because there was substantial funds in the account.”

After being arrested she admitted signing cheques as she had debts in the region of £20,000 and had already taken out pay day loans to stem her debts.

Simeon Evans, defending, said White had no previous convictions.

He added: “It’s a classic tale in the modern internet age and the accessibility to users of gambling which can be accessed from the comfort of one’s home in which enormous debts can be run up.

“Effectively her downfall can all link back to when she first discovered the world of online gambling.

“She was paying herself in advance and some times she managed to pay off a significant amount in her own wages but some times she couldn’t.

“She is a pariah in the small community because so many of her neighbours have children who go to the nursery.

“She is not only shunned but has remarks aimed at her in the street.”

Handing her a 12 month community order including supervision Recorder Geoffrey Lowe said: “You had financial difficulties because of your initial and growing interest in online gambling.

“Everyone knows what you have done and there has been a reaction to that is a profound punishment.”

He also ordered she pay a nominal £1 in compensation due to her extensive debts.

SPEAKING after the sentencing the pre-school said White’s actions almost closed the school down.

Gemma Antell, from Locking Stumps Pre-School, said: “We were within days of closing, the only reason we didn’t close was because staff worked unpaid for months and the pre-school had to borrow money to pay bills.

“We can never thank staff enough, to do that shows their dedication.

“The parents in the community have fundraised and supported us to get us where we are today.”

They also hit out at the sentence handed down to White.

“We appreciate she has young children and a custodial sentence would be difficult but we don’t see what deterrent this will serve,” added Miss Antell. “The fine is completely pointless, we do not understand charging her £1.

“She has never shown any remorse or apologised to us throughout the last year.”

Comments (6)

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9:23am Thu 15 May 14

locking stumps lad says...

What a load of
. I bet she didn't think about her kids or anyone else when she was putting the money in her pocket. And a 1 pound fine. What a joke she might as well be let off. I hope she understands what she has done to the community and that she will always be looked at as a thief. Justice was not done.
What a load of . I bet she didn't think about her kids or anyone else when she was putting the money in her pocket. And a 1 pound fine. What a joke she might as well be let off. I hope she understands what she has done to the community and that she will always be looked at as a thief. Justice was not done. locking stumps lad
  • Score: 26

12:05pm Thu 15 May 14

Megamike56 says...

Utter scumbag and what a joke we call this justice. She choice to play bingo online and run up debt, but this women was willing to steal money from a good cause which was helping children. She should be made to stand outside the school with a sign round her neck saying I stole from your kids so I could get my kicks playing bingo. The sentence is like sticking two fingers up to all the people at the nursery who themselves showed how much they cared for the kids that they were looking after without any pay.
Utter scumbag and what a joke we call this justice. She choice to play bingo online and run up debt, but this women was willing to steal money from a good cause which was helping children. She should be made to stand outside the school with a sign round her neck saying I stole from your kids so I could get my kicks playing bingo. The sentence is like sticking two fingers up to all the people at the nursery who themselves showed how much they cared for the kids that they were looking after without any pay. Megamike56
  • Score: 22

12:21pm Thu 15 May 14

tojahejome says...

I am not defending this horrible woman in any way, but why wasn't this picked up sooned by other authorised signatury or by other invloved in the running of the pre school. £1 fine what an absolute joke,
I am not defending this horrible woman in any way, but why wasn't this picked up sooned by other authorised signatury or by other invloved in the running of the pre school. £1 fine what an absolute joke, tojahejome
  • Score: 6

6:07pm Thu 15 May 14

tadples says...

As a friend of a member of staff I saw the traumatic effect ithe discovery of theft from the nursery had on her. Cannot believe that the accused would steal from the nursery and her friends so consistently. We can all make mistakes but this was continuous stealing over a long period. She deserves a much harsher punishment. I hope the staff can now move on and continue the excellent work that they do.
As a friend of a member of staff I saw the traumatic effect ithe discovery of theft from the nursery had on her. Cannot believe that the accused would steal from the nursery and her friends so consistently. We can all make mistakes but this was continuous stealing over a long period. She deserves a much harsher punishment. I hope the staff can now move on and continue the excellent work that they do. tadples
  • Score: 12

8:47pm Thu 15 May 14

Mrsl291108 says...

The sentence is a joke, considering all the hard work that the staff, committee and parents have put in. This has involved members of staff working unpaid and fundraising events that parents and staff have contributed to. The one thing from this has been apparent all along, that the staff at Locking Stumps Pre-School are committed to the children in the community and have really pulled together and restored certainly my faith in genuine good honest people, something Wendy White was mistaken for. The locking stumps community have really pulled together and this is not a community she will be made a part of again and the sad thing is she's not just subjected herself to isolation from the community but also her young children. Her actions were selfish, she stole from the children and parents, she left staff unpaid and has as Gemma quotes shown no remorse for her selfish actions.
The sentence is a joke, considering all the hard work that the staff, committee and parents have put in. This has involved members of staff working unpaid and fundraising events that parents and staff have contributed to. The one thing from this has been apparent all along, that the staff at Locking Stumps Pre-School are committed to the children in the community and have really pulled together and restored certainly my faith in genuine good honest people, something Wendy White was mistaken for. The locking stumps community have really pulled together and this is not a community she will be made a part of again and the sad thing is she's not just subjected herself to isolation from the community but also her young children. Her actions were selfish, she stole from the children and parents, she left staff unpaid and has as Gemma quotes shown no remorse for her selfish actions. Mrsl291108
  • Score: 9

10:42pm Thu 15 May 14

local man says...

I cant see why 200 hours unpaid work couldn't be included in her sentence, less free time on her hands for bingo for starters. fine is a joke, effectively others have paid for her bingo fun through their hard - unpaid - work. She should repay every penny.
I cant see why 200 hours unpaid work couldn't be included in her sentence, less free time on her hands for bingo for starters. fine is a joke, effectively others have paid for her bingo fun through their hard - unpaid - work. She should repay every penny. local man
  • Score: 10

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