Elizabeth Childs, 65, stole £28k from Mixenden centre

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image captionElizabeth Childs took the money from the community centre to deal with debts, the court was told

A woman has been found guilty of stealing more than £28,000 from a not-for-profit community centre where she was employed as the manager.

Elizabeth Childs, 65, of Mount Tabor, Halifax, was the manager at the Mixenden Parents Resource Centre and admitted taking £2,300 from funds.

A jury at Bradford Crown Court found her guilty of seven more theft charges totalling a further £25,820.

Childs was told to "get her affairs in order" before sentencing on 5 April.

The 65-year-old, who has no previous convictions, denied she had taken more money and described her workload at the centre as "horrendous".

However, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all seven charges.

Childs claimed £2,300 transferred into her account had been a loan, which she had intended to pay back.

She said after her husband's hours were cut, the couple had debt problems.

"I couldn't think of any other way out," she told the jury.

An audit after Childs' suspension uncovered yearly discrepancies of more than £25,000.

At the start of the trial, the court heard Childs was paid a salary of £27,000 and prosecutor Duncan Ritchie said her debts and gambling habit were motive enough for to steal from her employer.

The resource centre, which received lottery funding and money from other sources, has subsequently shut down.

Childs' barrister, Abigail Langford, submitted that a pre-sentence report should be prepared on her client and Recorder Keith Miller agreed to grant Childs bail until 5 April.

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