North West Wales

Ex-Padarn Bus chief John Hulme guilty of fraud involving £800,000

John Hulme

A former Gwynedd bus company boss has been found guilty of fraud and false accounting.

John David Hulme, 55, had denied charges relating to more than £800,000 in public money paid to Padarn Bus Ltd in claims for concessionary fares.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard the offences occurred between July 2011 and December 2012.

Hulme was suspended on an unrelated matter in July 2012 by which time £495,857.08 had been falsely claimed.

The court heard Hulme made inflated claims about the number of concessionary fare passengers who used the service.

'Extremely serious'

Hulme and operations director Darren Price, who previously admitted fraud covering the period after Hulme was suspended, will be sentenced on Thursday.

Judge Merfyn Hughes QC told Hulme as the trial progressed "it became clearer and clearer that you were the author and perpetrator of the fraud right up to December 2012 and you gave instructions to Darren Price so he was able to continue it."

He added: "Although you are not charged with that he wouldn't have been able to do so if you hadn't given those instructions."

Speaking after the case, a Gwynedd council spokesman said: "This was an extremely serious case in which substantial sums of money were fraudulently extracted from the public purse.

"Since the council referred the matter to the police back in March 2014, we have been working closely with the Welsh Government to review monitoring procedures with bus companies who claim for concessionary tickets."

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