Trusted treasurer sentenced for stealing £23,000 from local Bridge Club

Charlotte Phillips was given a 16 month suspended sentence and ordered to complete rehabilitation work at Carlisle Crown Court

Charlotte Phillips, 39, who raided a bridge club’s coffers and pinched almost £23,000 has been given a 16 month suspended prison sentence.

Phillips had been in charge of Workington Bridge Club’s finances since 2018.

From September 2021, she was asked by the club secretary for copies of audited accounts but gave a number of excuses which aroused suspicions.

In August, 2022, a committee meeting took place to receive and approve accounts from the past two financial years.

An accountant contacted by the club informed them he had not received accounts for three years.

Accounts presented by Phillips were littered with spelling mistakes and were “poorly presented with no account details on and no signature by the accountant”.

When Phillips visited a club member, saying she’d stolen £5,000, there were discussions about repayment, but when she returned the following day and said the actual figure was “closer to £20,000”, police were contacted.

The total sum taken was £22,781.

Phillips, from Workington, admitted fraud by abuse of position.

In an impact statement, a representative spoke of the club having a very aged membership.

“At the end of the day we are part of this club for enjoyment and as a hobby.

"This whole incident has changed that and put a lot of extra stress and anxiety on us all,” he said.

Judge Barker said Philips had “abused that trust, that’s what makes this offending so serious.

"The people who you abused were people who you knew.

"The people who relied on you.

"The people you would see no doubt on a near weekly basis when you knew all the while you were stealing from them.

“You stood there, bare-faced, in front of them, knowing you were stealing their money,” the judge added.

“It is not a wealthy institution. Therefore the loss of this money was significant.”

Judge Barker added it was “regrettable” no compensation could be ordered, saying: “It seems to me there is little prospect of this money being paid back.”

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