Sudbury: Lucy McNaul pleads guilty to taking £15,000 of funding destined for youth group

Bury Magistrates Court

Bury Magistrates Court

A woman has pleaded guilty to pocketing £15,000 she was given to set up a new youth club in west Suffolk.

Lucy McNaul admitted keeping more than half the £29,400 grant she was awarded to create the Works in Sudbury back in 2010.

The 44-year-old, of Grenville Road, Sudbury, was handed the money from the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) Community Cashback scheme – which was designed to put assets recovered from criminal activities back into community projects.

She pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation during a hearing at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court on Monday, and will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court at a later date.

Prosecutor Ian Devine said: “£15,000 of that money was used by the defendant for a variety of reasons linked to herself – nothing to do with the project whatsoever.

“This was a significant breach of trust because this money was for the community and intended to go back into the community.”

In mitigation, the court heard that the rest of the MoJ’s grant had been spent legitimately on the Works project, and that McNaul had admitted her guilt to police two years ago, with the case taking two years to come to court due to delays between Government departments.

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The Community Cashback scheme has since closed.

McNaul gave a presentation to Sudbury Town Council about the Works project back in March 2010, where she outlined plans to start a drop-in centre in East Street in rooms above the Co-operative supermarket.

The town council has been instrumental in pursuing the lost money.

McNaul pleaded guilty at Monday’s hearing to a charge of keeping the £15,000 for herself, having signed an MoJ document stating she had spent all the money on the Works.