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Treasurer stole from residents

ANGRY residents have blasted a "lenient'' sentence dished out to a man who embezzled their money.


ANGRY residents have blasted a "lenient'' sentence dished out to a man who embezzled their money.

Paul Dunn, 43, of Greenhill, Great Harwood, was given a nine-month Community Rehabilitation Order and told to repay funds he had stolen from the Greenhill Residents' Association.

Dunn pleaded guilty to four counts of theft, carried out during a four-month period when he was association treasurer.

Mr Les Knowles, association chairman, said: "I don't think the residents will like this verdict. I am sure all the tenants will feel betrayed by him because I do.

"Hundreds of people benefit from our work and we nearly folded because of him. Yet he has never even given us an apology.
"He has now been banned from the association."

Dunn, who works as a security guard, stole £235.50 from January to May this year, after he had been appointed as treasurer last December.

Hyndburn magistrates heard he transferred the £2,057 in the association's coffers from the Nat West to a Lloyds Bank account in Blackburn, and then started spending the money on his home.

Anne-Marie Nicholls, defending, said Dunn had debts of £13,000 and his finances were now being looked after by the Citizens' Advice Bureau.

She said: "Prior to taking up residence in Greenhill, he had lived with his mother. He was used to her dealing with all his finances and organising his life.

"It was his first period of living away from home. He is an unsophisticated man with no real organisational skills."

She said Dunn had accepted a position of responsibility that he clearly wasn't ready for. As well as his financial problems, Dunn was being treated for extremely high blood pressure.

Miss Nicholls said Dunn was "extremely embarrassed and remorseful" and his job depended on the case's outcome.

Mr Frank Woodward, chairman of the Bench, said the magistrates were forced to consider Dunn's ill health when passing sentence.

He said: "You realise now this problem is entirely of your own making, and coming to court to face the music is the biggest penalty. But the aggravating feature is you were in a position of trust."

Portly Dunn became a high-profile figure in Great Harwood, working for the town's Royal British Legion as well as the residents' association. He was involved in a number of fund-raising initiatives including a sponsored slim.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist