Jailed ex-deputy mayor of Knaresborough must pay back over £100,000 stolen from church

Peter McNamara
Peter McNamara

A former deputy mayor of Knaresborough, currently serving two years in prison for stealing from a Harrogate church, has been ordered to pay back more than £100,000.

Peter McNamara, 71, worked as an administrator at St Robert’s Church and the attached conference centre between May 2007 and October 2014.

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The retired Greater Manchester police officer also served as a Knaresborough Town Councillor during this period.

He was found guilty on two counts of theft at York Crown Court in October 2018, but appeared before the court again earlier this month under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

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He was told by a judge that he would have to pay back a total of £103,711.56 to the Diocese of Leeds.

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North Yorkshire Police Acting Detective Inspector, Jonathan Rowland said: “Whilst securing a conviction and sentence is vital in these cases, so is the follow up work that goes on after criminal court proceedings.

“North Yorkshire Police, wherever possible, will seek to use available legislation in order to redress the financial damage done to a victim.

“The order placed on Peter McNamara, will ensure he is prevented from having any financial gain from his shocking crime of stealing form the local church. If he fails to pay what he owes, he will once again be put before the courts.” He said the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was a powerful tool allowing police to demonstrate to the court how a convicted criminal has benefited financially from their crime and ask for the money back.

“Our Financial Investigators work hard to ensure that in every case where it is possible for money to be paid back, it is put before a judge for consideration,” he added.