Jailed former UDM president Neil Greatrex ordered to pay back money he stole from charity

DISGRACED former president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers Neil Greatrex has been ordered to pay back tens of thousands of pounds that he stole from a charity established to provide care for sick and elderly miners.

Greatrex (61), from Stanley, near Teversal, was found guilty of 14 counts of theft at Nottingham Crown Court on 3rd April 2012 and later sentenced to four years in jail.

During a hearing at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday, Greatrex was ordered to pay back £201,327.51 within 28 days or face a further three years in jail by way of a default sentence.

The amount represents the money Greatrex, who was a trustee of the Nottinghamshire Miners Home, stole, which was £148,628.83, plus the increase in value of this as calculated on the Retail Price Index. The money will be paid as compensation to the home.

Prosecution costs of £9,098.86 were also awarded by the judge.

Greatrex’s conviction followed years of investigation by South Yorkshire Police.

The charity had set up a trading subsidiary called Phoenix Nursing and Residential Care Home Limited to run the care home, Phoenix Care Centre, which was the former name of the home.

Greatrex wrote cheques to the sum of almost £150,000, drawn on the accounts of both the trading subsidiary and the charity, and used this money to pay for improvements at his private home.

Graham Wragg, South Yorkshire Police’s economic crime unit manager, who led the investigation, said: “We are aware of our responsibility to victims of fraud and will strive to make the best use of Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to ensure that they are compensated, wherever possible.

“As head of the union and trustee of the home, Greatrex was given a position of trust to care for sick and elderly miners. He abused that trust by stealing from the very people for whom he was supposed to care.”

Michelle Russell, the Charity Commission’s head of investigations and enforcement, welcomed the news and said it acted as a warning that crime does not go unpinished.

“The theft of charitable funds is absolutely unacceptable and damages public trust and confidence in charities,” she said. “We welcome this outcome, which highlights that this kind of crime does not go unpunished, and secures the return of the money taken for charitable purposes.

“The Charity Commission has worked closely with South Yorkshire Police on this case and opened our own statutory inquiry into the charity in August 2007. When criminal proceedings concluded, we resumed our investigation and will publish a report once it is completed.”