A CONVICTED thief has again been ordered to pay back cash he stole from a history group after failing to meet the original sentencing deadline.

Former teacher Daniel Moorhouse did not return the £8,000 Lottery funding he pinched from Keighley and District Local History Society within six months of his case being heard at Bradford Crown Court, as the judge had demanded.

Moorhouse has now been ordered to pay back £20 a month deducted from his benefits. And prosecutors are also pursuing a Proceeds of Crime Act claim against him, which is due to go before court on May 1.

Moorhouse was given a suspended 15-month prison sentence last June after admitting stealing money between February and May 2013 to fund his alcohol addiction.

The court heard Moorhouse, then of Low Laithe Fold, Laycock, spent “a vast amount of the money” at the Turkey Inn at Goose Eye.

Following the latest decision of Bradford and Keighley magistrates on February 4, the first deduction was made last month.

Delays in repaying the money has forced society members to suspend plans to research the history of the former Keighley police station in North Street for more than a year.

Andy Wade, chairman of the society at the time of the thefts, this week described Moorhouse’s actions in stealing from the society as “the lowest of the low”.

Mr Wade added: “It was a project for the benefit of the community, for the people of Keighley.

“I think the historical society will probably accomplish the terms of the lottery grant through sheer effort, but it won’t be what was intended. Instead of being all-singing, all-dancing, the result will be plain.”

Current society chairman, Joyce Newton, said the project had stalled because the lottery grant was needed to carry out the work as planned.

She added: “There was equipment we were going to get, and some of the money was for holding meetings.”

Mrs Newton said she had been assured by lottery bosses that the society would not have to repay the £8,000 to the Heritage Lottery Fund, whether or not it received the money from Moorhouse.

She added the society’s volunteers will resume the police station project if it receives the money from Moorhouse.

Moorhouse first appeared before Bradford and Keighley magistrates in March last year, and pleaded guilty to five charges of theft and one charge of forging a cheque.

Some of the money received from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the police project was transferred to Moorhouse’s personal account for him to buy equipment and resources.

His deceit was uncovered when Mr Wade contacted the bank and found Moorhouse had made a number of unauthorised transactions, including one cheque on which he had forged the signature of the society’s secretary.

While sentencing Moorhouse at Crown Court for what he called a “determined breach of trust”, Judge Judge Jonathan Rose ordered him to pay back the money in full within six months or face being recalled to court for a confiscation hearing.

He said: “This country thrives on organisations such as this history society; like-minded individuals who care about their communities.

“You crushed the hopes of many for no good reason. This money will be repaid so the society can thrive long after you have served your sentence.”