Mum forced preschool to CLOSE DOWN after swindling it out of £65k – used school bank cards for herself

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A pre-school administrator stole £65,000 to pay for takeaways, designer perfumes and a new sofa – causing the school to close down. 

Over five years, Claire Precious, 49, used school bank cards to make 220 online purchases from Amazon, Argos and other sites .

She also made cash withdrawals of up to £500 and even used its money to do her food shops at Asda.

After buying a new sofa from The Range she dropped her old one off at the school saying she no longer needed it.

The Bassetts Farm Pre-School was forced to close down as a result of the fraud.

How She Was Found Out

Colleagues became suspicious when the mum-of-three, from Exmouth, gave herself a nearly £10,000 pay rise between 2018 and 2020.

Other members of staff had difficulty getting access to the account and noticed passwords had been changed.

She Was Arrested

The police launched an investigation and Precious was arrested in January 2023.

The day she was arrested a parcel of moisturiser was delivered to the house and other items bought with school money including a set of blinds and a water dispenser were found at her home.

Chairman of the preschool, Daniel Moore, voiced out his terrible shock, ‘I was absolutely horrified when I found out.

‘I don’t really have any idea why she did it. From the data I have it started very small and trivial and built up over time.

‘I can only presume as the judge said in court that greed got the better of her.

What She Did With the Money

‘I had to go through tens of thousands of transactions. There were transactions on the business debit card for Uber Eats, Dominos and Apple Airpods in the run up to Christmas when you are buying Christmas presents. 

‘There were also perfume, horse riding saddle covers and those sorts of things which a preschool would never buy.’

READ ALSO: England bosses ‘will BLOCK Kyle Walker’s ex Lauryn Goodman from being close to the team at Euro 2024’

What Next?

After the fraud was revealed, Bassetts Farm Pre-School closed down but the neighbouring primary school was able to open a nursery for the 50 children and saving the seven staff members’ jobs.

Mr Moore said: ‘We had no alternative other than to close it down.’It was going to be scuppered. Nobody would take it over so we shut it down.

‘Once I took over the running of the preschool, it was very close to closure, it had less than four weeks wages in the bank. And all of the bank accounts were closed down because they were used fraudulently.

‘Ultimately, the reputation was going to be destroyed once this became public knowledge and I couldn’t have anybody take over the running of it not knowing what was about to happen.

She Avoids Jail

Precious pled guilty to fraud on April 3.

At her sentencing in May, Judge Adkin spared Precious jail after she promised the money would be paid back but she was given a two-year suspended sentence with unpaid work.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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