Mansfield trio jailed after multi-thousand pound college fraud

THREE people from the Mansfield area have been jailed for a total of seven and a half years – following a near £500,000 fraud that targeted taxpayers’ cash at a college in Nottingham.

Castle College in Maid Marian Way ran courses for employed people who wanted extra training, using Government funding.

The college contracted the work to a training company with a base in Mansfield, but was billed for hundreds of non-existent students, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

Six people in all were jailed last week and two others were given suspended sentences.

College administrator Kay Edwards (45), of Heathery Drive, Forest Town, was jailed for three years.

She admitted conspiracy to defraud Castle College and a separate insurance fraud while on bail.

The court was told she provided other conspirators with names from databases.

Judge Michael Stokes, the Recorder of Nottingham, told her: “This fraud could not have taken place in the way it did without your active assistance.

“You were employed by the college and were there to protect its interests, not to line your pockets and the pockets of others.”

Husband and wife Leslie Hayes (44), and Claire Hayes (38), of Burnt Oaks Close, Mansfield Woodhouse, were jailed for three years and 18 months respectively for their parts.

They manned the Mansfield office of Birkenhead-based Training Options UK Ltd.

The judge told Leslie Hayes he was ‘up there’ with company director Andrew Leathwood but Hayes had pleaded guilty.

Leathwood, of Birkenhead, was convicted after a trial and was given the heaviest sentence of five years.

Judge Stokes told him: “You spotted the opportunity to make a lot of money through deliberate fraud.”

The judge said Leathwood had realised that the monitoring of independent contractors was inadequate.