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Conwoman jailed after stealing £122,000 from Shropshire construction firm

By Jonny Drury | Llanymynech | Crime | Published:

A mother who defrauded her employers out of more than £122,000 has been sent to jail.

Ann Jones and her son Craig Smith have both been locked up

Ann Jones, from near Oswestry, was jailed for two years and eight months at Shrewsbury Crown Court for stealing from Jim Dorricott Construction Ltd of Minsterley, near Shrewsbury.

Some of the money was given to her 36-year-old son Craig Smith, who was jailed for 10 months for acquiring criminal property.

Judge Peter Barrie said: “This was systematic repeated offending over a long period of time, which put the future of this business at peril.”

Jones admitted unlawfully taking between £122,000 and £130,000 from her employers over a three-year period, but the 58-year-old insisted she was coerced into it by her son.

Her son, of Balfour Close, Northampton said he had problems with alcohol, drugs and gambling and admitted acquiring £38,000 in criminal property.

Jones, of Heritage Way, Llanymynech, got a job as accounts office manager at the company in 2013, and the fraud began eight weeks after she started work.

Miss Sati Ruck, prosecuting, said the fraud from Jones happened in four ways.

She had been making false invoices and transferred £84,000 to a company that was owned by her husband and it went into their joint bank account.

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However, the prosecution accepted he had no knowledge of the fraud.

It is also alleged that she used money for withdrawals and personal purchases totalling £7,300.

She was also found to have transferred £25,000 to the account of Smith as wages, and a further £13,000 to another account of Smith.

The court also heard the company was financial unstable when the offences took place after a family business that owed it money went into receivership.

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The issue was first brought to light when company director Shaun Dorricott spotted the name ‘C Smith’ on the payroll and didn’t recognise it.

Police then investigated the matter and Jones and Smith were interviewed.

Samantha Powis, for Jones, said her client was aware of the seriousness of the offences and apologised for the heartache she had caused the family business.

Miss Powis added that Jones has an exemplary past, the offence was committed due to seriously misguided loyalty and she had invested in her one child.

She said that Jones had mental health issues and urged the judge to suspend the sentence.

Adrian Roberts, for Smith, said his client had always held down a job and had squandered the money from the company on alcohol, drugs and gambling.

He has gambling and alcohol under control now, the court was told, but has an issue with cocaine.

Roberts added that his client had showed genuine remorse and also urged the judge to suspend the sentence.

However the pair were jailed, with the Dorricott family visibly upset at the back of the courtroom when the decision was given.

Following the sentencing, the family said the sentence was "like a weight off their shoulders".

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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