Former mine union chief in charity theft told to pay £210,000

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The former president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers has been ordered to pay back tens of thousands of pounds that he stole from a charity established to provide care for sick and elderly miners.

Neil Greatrex, 61, from Stanley, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, was found guilty of 14 counts of theft at Nottingham Crown Court in April and later sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

At Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday, Greatrex – the UDM’s president between 1987 and 2009 – was ordered to pay back £201,327.51 within 28 days or face a further three years in jail.

The amount represents the money Greatrex, who was a trustee’ of the Nottinghamshire Miners Home, stole – £148,628.83 – plus the increase in value of this as calculated on the Retail Price Index. The money will be paid as compensation to the home.

Prosecution costs of £9,098.86 were also awarded by the judge.

Greatrex’s conviction followed years of investigation by South Yorkshire Police.

The charity had set up a trading subsidiary called Phoenix Nursing and Residential Care Home Limited to run the Lincolnshire care home and between 2000 and 2006. Greatrex billed the home for improvement work which was actually being done on his own property and that of UDM general secretary Mick Stevens.

But Stevens told the court he paid for improvements made on his own home by cash or through a separate company he and Greatrex ran and he would not have authorised any payment through the charity for such work.

South Yorkshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit Manager, Graham Wragg, who led the investigation, said: “As head of the union and trustee of the home, Greatrex was given a position of trust to care for sick and elderly miners. He abused that trust by stealing from the very people for whom he was supposed to care.”

Michelle Russell, the Charity Commission’s Head of Investigations and Enforcement, commented: “The Charity Commission has worked closely with South Yorkshire Police on this case and opened our own statutory inquiry into the charity in August 2007. When criminal proceedings concluded, we resumed our investigation and will publish a report once it is completed.”