A FORMER clerk who stole almost £6,000 from a Huntingdonshire parish council has been ordered to pay back just £1.

Jane Haggar, of Malthouse Lane, Ramsey, admitted last year stealing £5,666.18 of taxpayers’ money over a three-year period from Upwood and the Raveleys Parish Council.

At a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Huntingdon Law Courts last Wednesday (July 4), Judge Patrick Moloney told the 49-year-old to repay just £1.

He said: “There are assets but they are incumbent in debt. If there’s a change of circumstance, then we would look again at recovering the money.”

Robin Howe, chairman of the parish council, told The Hunts Post: “Frankly, I didn’t expect to see the money again. I knew she had no funds, and you can’t recover funds from someone with none.

“We have written off the money and we are wiser than before, so hopefully it won’t happen again.

“I think we all would have wanted the money back if she could have done. I’m not sure what further the judge could have done.”

Parish councillor Keith Sisman said that it was pointless spending more trying to recover the money from someone who didn’t have it.

“It’s just very sad that the council can’t get its money back,” he said. “She has committed something that is very wicked – taking money away from the parishioners of Upwood. She knew what she was doing, but we will get over it.”

Robert Oxley, campaign manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Debt can be a crippling burden but that does not justify ripping off taxpayers. Asking Jane Haggar to pay back such a pitiful amount sends out the wrong message about the consequences of stealing taxpayers’ money. Where possible, Haggar should be asked to make a greater contribution to repaying the amount she stole.”

Haggar, who also stole a filing cabinet, was sentenced in February and served three months of her 12-month jail term.