A crime proceeds settlement figure has yet to be agreed to retrieve some of the ill-gotten gains of a thieving parish clerk.

Stephen Round defrauded Kelloe Parish Council, in County Durham, of almost £100,000 during his tenure as its clerk, in almost five years in the part-time role, up to July 2022.

The 34-year-old local government worker, of Rookhope Grove, Bishop Auckland, who has no previous convictions, received a 24-month prison sentence, suspended for 24 months, at Durham Crown Court in October last year after admitting fraud by abuse of position.

But he was also ordered to perform 200-hours’ unpaid work as well as attend 30 rehabilitation activity days, overseen by the Probation Service, and observe a six-month 7pm to 7am home curfew, which is due to expire on Tuesday (April 16).

The Northern Echo: Parish council services for the people of Kelloe were put at risk by the fraudulent activities of

Crime proceeds inquiries were activated to see what sum of money could be retrieved from the defendant to recompense the parish council, which was left in a dire financial position, requiring emergency funding, due to his activities.

The case came back before the court in early March when the hearing was told the defendant has sold a car, while a property is subject to valuation.

It came back before the court again on Friday (April 12) when Judge Jo Kidd asked prosecution counsel, Chris Baker, if any progress had been made towards reaching a final settlement.

Mr Baker replied: “The short answer seems to be, unfortunately, ‘no’.”

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He said the reviewing lawyer working on the case has left the Crown Prosecution Service and no replacement has been appointed.

But he added that it was hoped that, “in due course it's capable of being resolved.”

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Fiona Lamb, representing Round, agreed that it should be in a position for a settlement figure to be agreed in a few weeks.

Judge Kidd said: “I’ll list it for a further mention in about six weeks and, hopefully, we can resolve the outstanding matters by then.”

The case will next come before the court on May 30.