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Hartlepool woman jailed after £17,000 theft from LGBT charity

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

A Hartlepool woman has been jailed after she admitting stealing more than £17,000 from the charity where she used to work.

Joanne Fairless was employed as a manager by Hart Gables - a charity which provides services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from its offices in Hartlepool, Stockton, and Middlesbrough.

A previous hearing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard Fairless raised false invoices and pocketed the cash by diverting payments to herself and her nephew.

Magistrates were told 23 cheques were raised for a total of £13,273 which was paid into her account.

Invoices were also raised for £3,950 which was paid into a family members’ account.

Hart Gables is run by a team who dedicate their time to making sure that the local LGBT community has access to a friendly and professional network.

Bosses at the charity say Fairless’ theft has had a “devastating impact” on the organisation.

Lynn Dalton, prosecuting, said: “An investigation found this defendant had raised invoices for work not done to a value of £3,950.

“Payments were made to an account held by her nephew.

“It was also found Fairless had raised 23 cheques to a value of £13,273, which were paid directly to her account.”

Fairless, of Lamberd Road, Hartlepool, admitted theft between March, 2016, and May of last year.

At a hearing at Teesside Crown Court she was given eight months imprisonment and four months concurrent respectively.

Following the case Tracey Herrington, chairman of Hart Gables, said: “We feel very disappointed that a member of our team showed so much disrespect for Hart Gables and its work.

“However, the remaining team members are united in putting this behind us and carrying on positively in our work to support the North East LGBT community.

“We thank our service users, volunteers and supporters from across the community who continue to support us enthusiastically in the aftermath of the actions of one individual.”