The former treasurer of a Devon hunt supporters’ club has admitted stealing £1,500 from its funds, then creating a fake bank statement to cover her tracks.

Exeter Crown Court was told that Naomi Tamzin Barrett was treasurer of the Axe Valley Hunt Supporters’ Club in East Devon when she stole the cash.

The court heard how she secretly paid two cheques, each worth £750, into her bank account, then typed up a fake bank statement that she showed to committee members to hide her deception.

The 41-year-old, of Tythebarn, Branscombe, near Seaton, in East Devon, admitted her crime when she appeared at the crown court on Tuesday 20 September. Barrett also pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining property by deception and a further charge of forgery. The forgery involved faking a Lloyds TSB statement with the intention of inducing members of the club to accept it as genuine.

Defence counsel Peter Ashman told the court that Barrett had been the treasurer of the club when she committed the crimes last November. The court was told the defendant was promising to repay the money to the club within days.

“The funds are literally in the post,” said Ashman. “She will return the money to the club and it will be repaid within 14 days.”

The court heard that Barrett had a medical letter to prove she had suffered from depression last year.

Sentencing was adjourned after it emerged that she had been given a caution in 1999 for another alleged offence involving taking money from an unnamed darts league.

“It is no secret that the crown’s records suggest she stole more than £2,000 from a darts league,” said Mr Ashman. “She says she had £900 from the darts league in her bank account and it remained there until it was repaid, so her version [of events] is very different.”

Recorder David Bartlett said the defence team needed to find out more about the caution as it could affect Barrett’s eventual sentence.

He said: “You can’t put forward this lady as having a good character and it shows the charges today are not an isolated incident.”

Barrett was bailed to be sentenced on Friday 21 October.

Photo by Iain Burns

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (29 September, ’05)

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