Father’s scam to pay for fees at school

A ST IVES man has admitted stealing more than £300,000 from friends and family to pay for school fees. Nicholas Gardner, 52, admitted eight charges of theft ranging from £20,000 to £84,000 when he appeared at Northampton Crown Court. He was caught after a

A ST IVES man has admitted stealing more than £300,000 from friends and family to pay for school fees.

Nicholas Gardner, 52, admitted eight charges of theft ranging from £20,000 to £84,000 when he appeared at Northampton Crown Court.

He was caught after a ­Kettering businessman complained after not getting his money back as promised.

Gardner told friends he needed to borrow money to set up a number of business projects, but was spending the cash on school fees.

As the businesses were not making enough money to pay back the victims, who were all close family or friends, Gardner was forced to borrow more funds.

He asked for a further five charges of theft, totalling £160,000, to be taken into consideration.

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Judge Richard Bray told Gardner: "The bell has tolled and the game has ended for you.

"You have been loaned money and spent it on keeping up a lifestyle.

"I am impressed you have pleaded guilty to all of these charges, but my powers in fraud cases are somewhat limited.

"You have shown frankness but that does not take away from the serious nature of this case."

Gardner, of London Road, St Ives took the money between September 2005 and March 2007.

Judge Bray said: "Your intention to repay these people was always a pretty remote possibility.

"You have contacts in Jersey and Europe and because of the seriousness of this case I will ask that your passport is surrendered."

Mr Gardner was ordered to report to the police once a week until he is sentenced.

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