A grassroots football club in County Durham has forgiven a former coach who was convicted of taking money from the coffers.

Dean Cummings, 38, took funds from Evenwood Town Football Club, near Bishop Auckland, in October while he was in a trusted position.

Cummings, of Mayfield Walk, St Helen Auckland, pleaded guilty at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court to one count of fraud recently and was given a conditional discharge.

He was ordered to pay over £1,300 in fines and court costs.

Chris Geddes, secretary and treasurer, said it was a close-knit community and, although he had done wrong, Cummings was forgiven by the club.

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Mr Geddes while there was a principle at stake it was ‘not a huge amount of money’.

He said: “He has had his issues and we want to support him.

“At the end of the day he is an Evenwood lad, he got involved with the club and it has not worked out.

“For whatever reason it went pear-shaped. We know life is not easy and we forgive him.”