Jail for children's embezzler

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A children's charity treasurer was jailed for two-and-a-half years yesterday after plundering thousands of pounds.

Charles Atkinson, 59, a bank clerk, helped himself to pounds 109,000 over 10 years either by pocketing cash donations to the Church of England Children's Society or by forging cheques for cash. Other members of the charity's committee in Canterbury, Kent, were unaware of their treasurer's deceit. Atkinson, of St Margaret's Bay, Kent, admitted 12 thefts and one forgery between July 1986 and February 1996 and asked for a further 320 offences to be taken into consideration. The court was told that Atkinson's wife, a retired schoolteacher, and his two children had no idea what he was doing. Atkinson was appointed treasurer of the charity in 1978 by virtue of his position as a senior clerical assistant at the National Westminster Bank, in Canterbury, where he had worked since 1955. NatWest has since reimbursed the charity, plus pounds 22,000 in interest and a further pounds 4,700 to meet their solicitor's cost.