Nursery swindler pays up to avoid jail

A SWINDLER avoided jail when more than £22,000 stolen from a Dewsbury nursery was paid back.

Samantha Crossland, 30, was told to cough up before sentencing at Leeds Crown Court last Friday – or face prison.

Crossland, daughter of Mirfield lottery winners Susan and Michael Crossland, stole the cash from Child’s Play.

The nursery, on Thornhill Road, Dewsbury, was left close to financial ruin by her actions.

Leeds Crown Court heard the amount stolen, £22,642.61, was paid into the bank account of nursery owner Lynda Quigley last Wednesday.

The deposit was from an “S. Crossland” – though it is not clear if this was Samantha or her mother Susan.

But as a result, Crossland received a 12-month community order with 180 hours’ unpaid work.

Crossland, of The Paddock, Mirfield, previously admitted to the theft of tuition fees paid by parents.

She had been promoted to nursery manager and then ran the accounts when Mrs Quigley became ill in 2013.

Recorder Ray Singh told Crossland: “You were in a position of significant trust. You were left alone to deal with the money – it is therefore a breach of trust.

“Staff, parents and the like were no doubt finding it very difficult to understand what was happening.”

Crossland’s parents scooped £1.2m on the lottery in 2008 using the same numbers as Susan’s late father Barrie had used.

Mrs Quigley, a friend of Susan’s, also considered herself close to Crossland before the thefts.

She said: “I feel really relieved that I’m finally going to get closure now that the court case has finished and the money taken has been repaid in full.

“I’m happy that justice has been served after what has been a very difficult year.

“But I still have no idea why she did this to me – why a good friend would betray me like this.”

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