Pimperne School false accounting head teacher sentenced

Weymouth Magistrates Court
Image caption David De Silva submitted two fake invoices to the school's education finance officer

A former head teacher who made a "stupid" attempt to gain more than £3,000 of school money has been handed a two-year community order.

David De Silva, who worked at Pimperne Primary School in Blandford, pleaded guilty to false accounting.

He submitted two fake invoices to the school's education finance officer to gain £3,300 but was cleared of fraud.

The 39-year-old was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and a 10-day rehabilitation activity.

De Silva took out two legitimate loans of cash totalling £3,300 in 2013 from a school account that included charity payments and money paid by parents for school trips, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.

'Stresses and strains'

Victoria Hill, defending, said the "hardship loan" was agreed by the chair of governors at the school.

But the court heard "repeat attempts" were made to retrieve the cash from De Silva until 2016 when he announced he would be leaving the school for a new job.

He then submitted two fake invoices totalling £3,300 for supposed computer work carried out on behalf of the school in 2013 by an IT company that did not exist until 2015.

De Silva, of Organford Road, Holton Heath, Poole, left the school earlier this year and the cash owed was repaid.

Sentencing, Judge Recorder Donald Tait said De Silva had "fallen a long way", but added: "No child suffered as a result of your stupidity."

At the time of the offence De Silva had marriage problems and was going through "a lot of stresses and strains", Ms Hill said.

In a statement, chair of the school's governors Steven Fielding said: "All at Pimperne CE VC Primary School were saddened to discover the financial irregularity and took steps to report it correctly that has resulted, following a full investigation, in the court case.

"At no time did the matter affect the excellent teaching at the school or impact upon the pupils. We continue to deliver a high quality education."

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