A former teacher will be sentenced next month after a court was told he stole £10,000 from a local history group to fund his alcohol addiction.
Daniel Moorhouse, 40, admitted taking the money between February and May last year, while acting as treasurer of the Keighley & District Local History Society.
Prosecutor Paul Ramsey told Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court yesterday that Moorhouse, who pleaded guilty to five charges of theft and one charge of forging a cheque, had spent “a vast amount” of the money in The Turkey Inn in Oakworth.
The court heard that Moorhouse, of Low Laithe Fold, Laycock, Keighley, a humanities and ICT consultant for schools, stole money given to the charity as a £9,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, earmarked to investigate the history of the Old Police Station, now the Civic Centre, and the Police Museum in North Street, Keighley.
Mr Ramsey said Moorhouse had attended the society’s committee meetings up to April 2013, arranging for the money to be paid into his personal bank account.
Despite the funds having already been allocated to buying equipment and supporting community exhibitions and workshops, the charity became concerned when he stopped attending meetings and “became difficult to contact”.
The society’s chairman, Andrew Wade, contacted the Co-operative Bank and found that Moorhouse had made five unauthorised transactions totalling £10,000, including one cheque on which he had forged the signature of the society’s secretary, Edith Thompson.
Moorhouse was arrested on October 15 last year, and although he admitted transferring the money, he claimed to have spent up to £2,000 on behalf of the society, buying educational packs for schools and running the charity’s website.
Mr Ramsey told the court that Moorhouse could provide no evidence of this expenditure, and had only £170.96 left of the £10,000 transferred into his account.
His solicitor, Mohammed Hussain, told the court that Moorhouse had admitted spending £8,000 on himself, but had spent the other £2,000 legitimately on society business.
He also said that Moorhouse’s health and memory had been affected by his alcohol dependency, and was receiving treatment for mental health issues.
Moorhouse was granted unconditional bail to allow the preparation of a report ahead of his sentencing hearing on April 1.
He was told by chairman of the bench, Grizelda Collier: “This was a planned act, and you stole from a charitable organisation using a position of trust.”
Moorhouse, who formerly taught history, worked closely with Catholic schools in Keighley and professed an interest in creating archives of information and photos.