History society treasurer stole £8,000 grant

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The treasurer of a local history society who stole most of a lottery grant has been spared jail.

Former teacher Daniel Moorhouse, 40, was yesterday given a suspended prison sentence by a judge at Bradford Crown Court after he admitted stealing £8,000 from the Keighley & District Local History Society which had been awarded a £10,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Prosecutor Stephanie Hancock told the court that suspicions were aroused last year when committee members had difficulty contacting Moorhouse and he stopped attending their meetings.

Bank enquiries revealed that there had been five payments totalling £10,000 into Moorhouse’s account between February and May last year and he had also forged the signature of the committee secretary on one of the cheques. Miss Hancock said the other four cheques had previously been counter-signed because of the trust placed in Moorhouse.

Moorhouse, of Low Laithe Fold, Laycock, pleaded guilty to five offences of theft amounting to £8,000 and one of making an article for use in fraud and yesterday Judge Jonathan Rose sentenced him to 15 months in prison suspended for two years.

Moorhouse will have to do 180 hours unpaid work for the community, pay back £8,000 in compensation to the society within the next six months, and will be subject to an electronically monitored curfew for the next four months.

Moorhouse’s barrister Stephen Wood said his client had suffered personal turmoil that had culminated in alcohol dependency which he hid from other people. Before the offending he had been the victim of a street robbery.

After the hearing, Andrew Wade, vice-chairman of Keighley & District Local History 
Society, said the project, which would help preserve memories 
of the town’s former police station, now a museum, would go ahead.