Woman who stole thousands pays £1

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Lynda Larke, who stole more than £15,000 from her cousin’s sub post office has been has been ordered to hand over just £1.

Larke, 62, was manager at Honington Post Office from where she stole £15,200 in 18 months to help pay off her growing debts of £51,000 to credit card companies.

At Ipswich Crown Court in October, Larke, of The Firs, Bury St Edmunds, was sentenced to 14 months prison suspended for 14 months after pleading guilty to three offences of theft.

She returned to court on Wednesday to hear Judge Rupert Overbury make a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

But the court heard that financial investigators had established Larke only had available assets nominally valued at just £1.

Judge Overbury ruled that Larke must hand over £1 within the next seven days.

In October the court had heard how Larke was caught when a temporary member of staff, who had been drafted in while Larke was on holiday, noticed irregularities.

Post office owner Maureen Tillbrook, 72, checked bags, supposed to be full of banknotes awaiting return to Post Office Counters, which were found in the bottom of a filing cabinet instead of the safe.

The bags only contained rolled up cash bags and £9,740 was missing.

Investigations also revealed £1,220 commission from National Lottery ticket for the current occupier of a Honington convenience store had not been given to him nor had £3,012 been paid to his predecessor.

The court heard that Mrs Tillbrook, who is Larke’s second cousin, had to write to a cheque for £10,968 to reimburse the Post Office.