A TRUSTED treasurer at a Northumberland chamber of trade stolen thousands of pounds from the organisation to ease debts, a court has heard.
Former financial services worker Mark Trill looked after the books at Morpeth Chamber of Trade and was held in high regard.
The chairman of the organisation had such trust in Trill he would even sign blank cheques for him, never imagining the man he had known for 25 years would be plundering cash for himself.
But in what the chairman described as the “ultimate betrayal of trust”, Trill helped himself to nearly £20,000 of funds meant to be used for the good of Morpeth.
Finally the guilt became too much for Trill, and he told his wife what he had done then walked into a police station and confessed, even though no one suspected a thing.
Now the 61-year-old has been given a suspended prison sentence, was put on a curfew and ordered to do unpaid work after he admitted theft. Imposing the sentence at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Brian Forster QC told Trill: “You have betrayed the trust of those with whom you worked.
“You were responsible for the finances and took advantage of their trust so you could carry out this offending. Clearly your activities were shocking and upsetting to everyone involved.
“However you have no previous convictions, have a strong work ethic and have served the community over a significant period of time before your involvement in this offending.”
The court heard Morpeth Chamber of Trade, which is run on a voluntary basis by around 80 members, organised various fundraising events and the money raised would be ploughed back into the town.
Trill had served with the organisation for years and had previously been chairman.