Athelstan Nursery back on track after theft

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A nursery in Hastings is recovering both financially and emotionally after a former employee was found guilty of stealing more than £12,000 from the charity-run group.

Sarah Dale was convicted of two offences of theft when she appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on April 17 – one for the value of £11,100 from Sacred Heart Catholic School on Old London Road, where she was a governor, and the other for the value of £12,000 from the Athelstan Nursery.

A spokesman for the Athelstan Nursery, where Dale previously worked, said: “It has been a challenging and emotional journey for the staff and management committee, and has placed a huge financial burden on this nursery.

“The Athelstan Nursery is a small, charity-run organisation that relies heavily on the support of the committee and parents working hard to raise extra funds.

“The staff at the Athelstan have continued to be outstanding practitioners in what has been a difficult year and look forward to new developments taking place.”

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Sarah Dale, 43, of Harold Road, Hastings, was charged on June 11, 2014 with two offences of theft.

“The first offence occurred between September 13, 2012 and April 2, 2014, when she stole £11,100 belonging to Sacred Hearts School.

“The second offence occurred on June 11, 2014, when she stole £12,000 belonging to the Athelstan Nursery.

“She appeared at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on April 17, 2015, where she pleaded guilty to both counts of theft. She was sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment suspended for 24 months, ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and pay £9,870 compensation, £80 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Her guilty plea was taken into account.”

Following the conviction, Ms Dale has resigned from her post as nursery manager of Castledown School, which she started in April, 2014.

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