News

NCT bus drivers left ‘cheated’ as social fund wiped out by cruel fraudster

todayMay 9, 2022 68

Background
share close

Bus drivers felt “cheated” after their social fund was cleared out by a fraudster. Former bus driver Robert Crookes helped himself to more than £14,800 from the Nottingham City Transport Social Society when he was chairman.

Employees of award-winning Nottingham City Transport (NCT) – the biggest transport operator in Nottingham and five-times winner of the UK Bus Operator of the Year – paid 30 pence per week from their wages into the society, which was run by employees, to pay for social events throughout the year.

But dishonest Crookes betrayed their trust with the cash, transferring it to his savings account and making withdrawals for years as he hit the financial buffers and used pay day loans as his accounts ran dry every month and he went into overdraft.

READ MORE: Man admits killing his partner in Newark

Crookes, previously of good character with no previous convictions, was employed by NCT since November 17, 2003, as a driver and then a radio controller in 2012. He became chairman of the fund in 2014, but had been involved with the society since 2007.

Crookes, 58, of Chesterfield Avenue, Gedling, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position between April 1, 2016, and May 1, 2020, at NCT Bus Depot, Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham city. Crooked Crookes ultimately lost his job because of what he did.

His lawyer insisted he was not dishonest from the outset, “but became in a financial mess he could not disentangle”, said higher court advocate Kevin Waddingham.

The fraud was exposed when, say the prosecution, Crookes was fully aware the accounts would not pass close scrutiny and he had delayed and avoided anyone else in the society access to the accounts. No one else was allowed access to his office but one colleague did gain access as suspicion grew.

Bins were overflowing with paperwork, said prosecutor Victoria Rose on Monday, May 9. There was a application for a signatory to be added at Lloyds bank for that colleague, which had been requested, but it was ripped up.

Receipt-keeping was virtually non-existent. When Crookes realised the game was up, he deposited £11,487 into the account. By then the social fund was empty.

One society member told in a statement how important it had been to him in the 21 years he was a member, and gave him day trips with his family for years and was a great society to be part of. He said members felt betrayed when the money went missing and they had been paying subs in good faith and they felt cheated by what happened.

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC imposed an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, taking into account the delay since the offence and the fact Crookes had started to repay the cash. The judge ordered he pay the balance of £3,316 to NCT in full within the next 28 days.

And he said: “Robert Crookes, you have fallen a long way and done so, it would seem, by your own financial incompetence. People placed a heavy burden of confidence in you and I am afraid you breached that in spades.”

After the hearing, Anthony Carver-Smith, NCT Head of Marketing said, “The Social Society supports leisure, entertainment and activities for our colleagues to enjoy and relax outside of their work, such as the annual Christmas Party and family day trips by coach. The sentence and Mr Crookes repaying the final monies owed back to the Society brings this matter to a satisfactory close and will allow us to organise further activities for his former colleagues, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic”.

To read all the biggest and best stories first sign up to read our newsletters here.

Written by: thehitnetwork

Rate it

Previous post

News

Full fire service statement after Radcliffe-on-Trent huge house blaze

The fire service have released a statement after they were called to a big house fire in a Nottinghamshire village. Five fire crews were deployed to Cropwell Road in Radcliffe on Trent at 12.30pm on Monday, May 9.The service had urged members of the public to avoid the area and residents to close their doors and windows, adding that crews would be there for "some time". Initially, crews thought people […]

todayMay 9, 2022 17

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0%