Sunderland teacher stole children’s school trip deposits

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A SCHOOL has told of its disappointment after a Sunderland teacher pocketed deposits which parents had given for a school trip.

A court heard that Gary Greenhouse, of Aboyne Square, in Farringdon, stole £2,400 which was intended to pay for pupils to go to Spain.

The 34-year-old, a PE teacher at Thorp Academy, Gateshead, had been put in charge of collecting deposits from the parents for the trip, but instead pocketed the money over seven months to pay off debts he had accrued from over-spending, magistrates were told.

The dad-of-one has been given a six-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court to one count of theft.

Speaking after the case, Steve Williamson, principal of Thorp Academy, said: “This has been a serious breach of trust from someone in a respected professional position.

“Discrepancies were identified by our finance department when the trip was postponed and some parents had requested refunds of the deposits they had paid to Mr Greenhouse.

“After a full internal audit and investigation, we discovered that Mr Greenhouse had not been following the strict processes stipulated by the school for the handling of cash and payments.

“This was swiftly addressed and reported to the appropriate authorities.

“We apologised to the parents involved and made a full refund from school funds. The trip went ahead last week and was very successful.”

The court heard that the thefts took place between December 1 last year and July 15 this year and that Greenhouse was discovered when some families had requested a refund.

Soon after, he resigned from his post.

Greenhouse was given six months in custody, suspended for 12 months, with 300 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £1,200 compensation.