Lincolnshire

Playgroup cash funded boss's Disney toy collection

Frozen toy set Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sharp used some of the money to fund her collection of Disney figures

The manager of a playgroup took £35,000 from the organisation to help fund her collection of rare edition Disney figures, a court has heard.

Julie Sharp, who was manager of the North Somercotes playgroup, took the cash over a two year period.

She also used some of it to pay for shoes, handbags and clothes.

Sharp, 49, of East Row, South Somercotes, admitted a charge of furnishing false information between April 2014 and March 2016.

Lincoln Crown Court heard she had paid herself wages she was not entitled to and paid herself at a higher rate than agreed.

Son's drug debts

Joey Kwong, prosecuting, told the court Sharp, who was responsible for paying staff wages, also overpaid her daughter when she worked for the group.

He said staff noticed her lifestyle becoming luxurious, with her collecting "rare editions of Disney figures", clothing, shoes and handbags.

The court heard Sharp justified her spending by saying she had sold gold and received PPI payments.

Mr Kwong said the matter came to light after staff complained to the group's new chair. She later handed in her notice.

Hannah Walker, for Sharp, said the defendant got into financial difficulties after taking out pay day loans to pay off her son's drug debts.

The court also heard the loss of money had led to financial difficulties for the playgroup.

Judge Simon Hirst adjourned sentencing for a hearing to determine a disputed prosecution claim that the effect of Sharp taking the money was that a child with autism did not receive council funded one-to-one assistance.

Sharp was bailed until the hearing which is due to take place in July.

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