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Thief swipes Masons' cash
A TREASURER has admitted stealing up to £80,000 from a masonic lodge.
Harry Traverse said he took the money, from the St Giles Masonic Association, based in St John’s Green, Colchester, over a period of more than five years.
Traverse, 76, of Windsor Court, Brightlingsea, was working as association treasurer during the time the offences took place.
Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday how the lodge called the police after members found a number of financial irregularities in the account.
Soon after, Traverse was interviewed by officers and admitted he had taken the money.
Traverse appeared in front of magistrates, who declined to deal with the offences because they were too serious. He will be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court next month and could face up to three years in jail.
Brian Wright, masonic spokesman for Essex, said: “It is very sad.
“To a great extent, it is like having a family member involved in something to us.
“This was something which was reported by our own members when they realised things were not right.
“Standards of honesty and morality are very high and when something like this happens it comes as a great shock.”
Mr Wright also queried whether the money would be returned to the lodge, but said no action will be taken against Traverse until after he is sentenced.
He said: “At that stage, we, as an organisation, would then have to look at it, but whatever we do is based on the normal legal process as we are not judge and jury and would not want to be.”
Under mason rules, if a member is sent to jail, they are permanently removed from the lodge.
Traverse admitted to six counts of theft by an employee, between January 2007 and July 2012.
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