UDM boss must pay back money

David Challinor and Neil Greatrex
David Challinor and Neil Greatrex

Former Union of Democratic Mineworkers president Neil Greatrex has been ordered to pay back over £200,000 he stole from a charity which cared for sick miners.

Greatrex, 61, from Stanley, Sutton-in-Ashfield, was found guilty of 14 counts of theft at Nottingham Crown Court on 3rd April, and later sentenced to four years in prison.

Last Thursday at Birmingham Crown Court, Greatrex was ordered to pay back £201,327.51 within 28 days or face a further three years in jail.

David Challinor, who worked at Harworth Colliery from 1979 to 2006 and was elected as branch delegate in 1993, said he was shocked by the news and launched a stark warning to Greatrex.

“To Mr Greatrex - I say you committed the crime. Do the time and don’t look for a get out of jail card,” he said.

“You have been convicted a thief. Please do not hold your head up high saying what you did for the Notts miners.”

“All you have done is bring shame on us in one way shape or form and you are an insult on our miners.”

The amount represents the money Greatrex, who was a trustee of the Nottinghamshire Miners Home, stole - £148,628.83 – plus the increase in value of this as calculated on the Retail Price Index. The money will be paid as compensation to the home. Prosecution costs of £9,098.86 were also awarded by the judge.

Greatrex’s conviction followed years of investigation by South Yorkshire Police. The charity had set up a trading subsidiary called Phoenix Nursing and Residential Care Home to run the care home.

Greatrex wrote cheques to the sum of almost £150,000, drawn on the accounts of both the trading subsidiary and the charity and used this money to pay for improvements at his home.

South Yorkshire Police’s economic crime unit manager, Graham Wragg, said: “We are aware of our responsibility to victims of fraud and will strive to make the best use of Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to ensure that they are compensated, wherever possible.”

“As head of the union and trustee of the home, Greatrex was given a position of trust to care for sick and elderly miners. He abused that trust by stealing from the very people for whom he was supposed to care.”

Michelle Russell, the Charity Commission’s Head of Investigations and Enforcement said the theft of charitable funds was ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and damages public trust and confidence in charities.