Town clerk found guilty of downloading porn and falsifying council’s books

NDET 9-6-12 BWJ 42 Court Case Roy Hunt
NDET 9-6-12 BWJ 42 Court Case Roy Hunt

A town clerk downloaded pornography with the council’s credit card and falsified the authority’s books.

Roy Hunt, 70, the former clerk at Dronfield Town Council was found guilty of 11 charges which also included purchasing two laptops and petrol with council money.

His crimes only came to light when Hunt went on holiday and colleagues discovered a credit card statement.

Hunt, of Alexandra Road Swallownest, downloaded porn and tried to hide the crime by saying the money had been spent on Christmas lights for the town.

He spent £349 and £401 on laptops – but stated the money had been spent on fencing and tools – and purchased over £50 worth of petrol which he entered as ‘Sainsbury’s Gifts’ in the council’s accounts.

During the trial on June 8 prosecutor Jenny Fitzgerald told Chesterfield Magistrates Court that in 2002 Hunt faced a disciplinary hearing after viewing premium rate porn websites and running up a bill on the council’s credit card.

He repaid the council £616, which included over £130 for porn sites and over £400 for electrical equipment he had purchased for his home.

Mrs Fitzgerald said that when interviewed by police Hunt, who was paid around £40,000 a year by the council, felt he was underpaid.

She added: “Nobody would see the credit card statements and you would follow up the purchases by falsifying the account books.

“With the large budget that you handled you thought every so often you would help yourself.”

Hunt claimed the laptops were purchased for work use and he could not explain why he had falsified the books. He said he guessed what the money had been spent on to make the accounts balance.

He denied accessing the porn websites and said the credit card must have been cloned.

He said: “At the time I thought I was giving my job 110 per cent but looking back I accept I made mistakes.

“I felt my work load and responsibilities were increasing.”

He said he was suffering from lack of sleep at the time the crimes were committed.

But district judge Alan Fowler said the crimes were serious, given Hunt’s position as town clerk and chief financial officer, and found him guilty of all charges.

He added: “For whatever reason at the time you felt you had a dispute which the council. You did purchase these things when you didn’t have the authority and you falsified the accounts to show it was something other than it was.”

He is set to be sentenced on Wednesday.