A CHARITY fraudster who stole thousands of pounds has been given time to pay it back before she is sentenced.

Barbara Clarke ran local charity Bolton Dementia Support, but she used her position to defraud the organisation out of £23,754.

She even employed her own grandson, giving him sick pay he was not entitled to whilst he was working for another company and would falsify invoices to try and cover her tracks.

Clarke, aged 69, of Higher Shady Lane, Bromley Cross, was due to be sentenced for her crimes yesterday, alongside her grandson, Scott Schofield-Clarke, but he did not turn up for the hearing as he was unaware of the date and so Judge Timothy Stead adjourned sentencing for both until December 17.

"I am told you are in the process of arranging to repay the remainder of the sums that you owe," he told Clarke, who stood in the dock leaning on her walking stick.

"I think it is just to give you a chance to do just that because if you succeed in doing that it will afford you a powerful point of mitigation.

"I cannot tell you what effect that will have [on your sentence] but it could have a crucial effect on your case.

"I haven't come to any conclusion as to what sentence would be appropriate."

At a previous hearing Clarke pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud, making cash withdrawals from the charity's bank, transferring funds to her personal account and using charity money to buy items she was not entitled to. The offences took place between 2013 and 2018.

Scott Schofield-Clarke, aged 21, of the same address, has admitted making false claims about his employment at the charity and possessing a letter for use in fraud in 2018.

Nicholas Ross, defending Barbara Clarke, told Judge Stead that she has already paid back some of the money and intends to fully repay the rest.

"Mrs Clarke wants it to be known today, in the arena of this courtroom, that this is the most shameful day of her life and it will be difficult to find a defendant who is more profoundly remorseful," said Mr Ross.

"From being a giver and being philanthropic she has turned a thief and she will now always be regarded as that."