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Greedy community leader stole from Ayrshire windfarm fund  

Credit:  By Stephen Houston | Daily Record | 8 June 2015 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk ~~

She betrayed an entire community, depriving youngsters of trips and treats to line her own pockets.

Greedy Yvonne Jackson just couldn’t resist the lure of easy cash – and as the treasurer of a windfarm fund she paid the cheques to herself.

The poker-faced mum-of-three admitted stealing £10,000 from the New Cumnock Windfarm Fund, of which she was treasurer.

And with dozens of similar funds in the area – some administered by complete amateurs – the case has opened a can of worms on who is keeping an eye on them.

Power companies offer hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in bribes to the local community for having their turbines scar the landscape.

For Jackson,47, it was manna from heaven as she got New Cumnock Community Council colleagues to sign blank cheques on the basis she was paying out to local organisations.

Instead she wrote her own name on the pay-line and filled in amounts that she fancied to stash in her own bank account.

Now the cheat, of Mounthorpe Terrace, New Cumnock will have to perform menial tasks in her community as penance.

She was sentenced to 150 hours community service at Ayr Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Surprisingly she handed over a cheque to repay the full £10,000 more than two years after she embezzled it.

In reality around £18,000 had disappeared from the cash reserves, though Jackson didn’t admit the full amount.

The court heard she was going through a marital separation at the time and had been struggling.

It was said she acted in impulse despite the fact she knew precisely what she was doing.

The court was told she had suffered in the community as a result and was genuinely shamed.

Jimmy Carmichael, the new secretary of New Cumnock Community Council, said she had been rightly shamed.

He said: “She is a disgrace.

“This money was taken from school kids for trips, to our churches to help them, scouts, girl guides, boys brigade, you name it.

“They suffered because of what she did.”

After the sentence last week the Community Council elected a new committee – chaired by Marie Walker – in a bid to move on from the shame.

Jimmy Carmichael revealed: “A new way of working has been drawn up and not one single person involved within the fund can get access to the money.

“It has to go before the group, every cheque has to be filled in at the meeting and an independent scrutineer will oversee what we do.

“We will get professional help and the community can be assured this will never happen again.”

Jackson finally admitted taking the money between February 17 and March 1, 2013.

Jimmy revealed they called in police after realising something as wrong.

He said: “She would ask for maybe half a dozen blank cheques to be signed and claimed they would be given to the various organisations.

“This is a woman who is very liberal with the truth.

“The funny thing was she also told us how things should be done, we couldn’t do this and we couldn’t do that.

“Every I had to be dotted, every T crossed before anybody would get anything.

“Yet she was robbing the place blind.”

Jimmy was chair at the time of the thieving and it was he and Marie who uncovered it.

He said: “We got all the information from the banks and took it for an internal audit.

“They said there was something wrong and we took it to the police.

“The town village has been betrayed. We are possibly the most deprived area in Scotland and she stole from us.”

Windfarm cash should be helping the area more in the future.

At the moment funds are released from Windy Standard and Hare Hill.

But bigger income from larger sites will start coming on stream in two years and about five are currently in for planning permission.

Source:  By Stephen Houston | Daily Record | 8 June 2015 | www.dailyrecord.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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