Phantom pregnancy thief is spared jail

Chris Noble Waste disposal services recycling and skip hire
Chris Noble Waste disposal services recycling and skip hire

AN administration clerk who stole £21,000 from a city company while on maternity leave for a fake pregnancy has been spared jail.

Leeds Crown Court heard infertile Claire Gee, 30, was suffering a “phantom pregnancy” when she transferred thousands of pounds from the business account at Noble Waste Disposal Ltd into her own bank in between January and May 2009.

Handing her a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, Judge Robert Bartfield said Gee suffered from a “very unpleasant and serious psychiatric condition” and that she ‘wouldn’t be able to cope in prison”.

The court heard Gee started working for the skip company at The Timber Yards, Thornes Lane Wharf, in 2005, and later got her boyfriend a job there.

She and manager Adam Noble were the only ones with the PIN number for the cash account and bosses became concerned about the company’s finances a short time after she went on maternity leave in 2009.

Bank statements showed a transaction had been carried out an hour before Mr Noble started work – at the time Gee arrived to drop her boyfriend off.

Gee, of Queen Street, Pontefract, pleaded guilty to theft.

She was also sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Noble said: “She stole the money at a time when the company was struggling due to recession hitting the building and associated trades and she knew this as she worked in the office.

“It has hit the family [firm] more as she would be sitting talking to you and being friendly at the same time as stealing from us.”