Hartlepool school worker on £60,000 dinner money theft charge

The hearing took place at Teesside Crown Court.
The hearing took place at Teesside Crown Court.

A school worker has appeared in court charged with stealing £60,000 in dinner money.

Paula Kester is alleged to have taken the cash over a four year period from the school in Hartlepool where she worked.

Prosecutors claim the thefts involve money pupils paid for food via a pre-payment card scheme.

Kester, 53, of Percy Street, Hartlepool, denies four charges of theft between September 2012 and April 2016.

The case was the subject of a short hearing at Teesside Crown Court and details of the school were not revealed.

The trial was due to start this week, but was adjourned until later in the year.

Martin Towers, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said Kester’s trial would have to be adjourned because a prosecution witness cannot attend.

“The lady concerned recently broke her leg in an accident,” added Mr Towers.

“She expects to be confined in hospital for several days.”

Martin Scarborough, defending, said he agreed the trial could not be held without the witness.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton set a new trial date of August 20.

Kester was released on unconditional bail in the meantime.