Boys Brigade leader's £7,000 theft shame

Keith Ainsley has been ordered to pay just 1

Keith Ainsley has been ordered to pay just 1

A Boys' Brigade chief who took over £7,000 from his troop's bank accounts and used the kids' cash for himself has been ordered to pay back just £1.

Keith Ainsley, of Mill Lane, Whitburn, ,took charge at the 18th South Shields brigade, based at Talbot Road Methodist Church in the town, when the previous captain, - who had been there for decades -passed away.

Ainsley, 48, who had volunteered at the group, was given access to the brigade's two bank accounts and helped himself to around £7,650 between February 2012 and October 2014.

Ainsley admitted fraud and was given a suspended sentence at Newcastle Crown Court in January.

He was back in the dock yesterday, where it was accepted that he has no cash left.

Kevin Wardlaw, prosecuting, said: "The reality is, the defendant has no means,as such, to speak of."

Any assets, including houses, cars or valuables, held by Ainsley could have been confiscated at the hearing, under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Mr Wardlaw said the order to be seized from Ainsley is just £1 in the circumstances.

Judge Amanda Rippon said Ainsley must pay £1 within 28 days or face a week behind bars in default.

The judge said: "I find the amount outstanding to be £7,650, however, the only realizable amount is £1.

"I make a confiscation order in the amount of £1."

The court heard any assets gained or money received by Ainsley in future could be confiscated from him under the order that was made.

Judge Rippon warned him: "If you find yourself flush, the prosecution can come back and ask for the outstanding amount.

"That remains outstanding until you pay it."

The court heard at the previous hearing Ainsley was never officially elected as captain at the brigade, but took over the position when his predecessor, who was a close friend of his, died.

The court heard Ainsley used the brigade's money, which included a community grant donation, to pay his own bills and expenses.

Ainsley, who resigned when his dishonesty was exposed, pleaded guilty to fraud.

He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years because of his previous good character, personal circumstances and guilty plea.

Ainsley was ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work, pay £445 costs and be supervised by the probation service for six months.

Jonathan Cousins, defending, said at the previous hearing that Ainsley was of "exemplary character" and had committed the frauds at a time when he was drinking too much as a result of unresolved bereavement issues.