Director stole thousands from Peterborough clubs to feed gambling addiction

Gemma Beeny
Gemma Beeny

A children’s gymnastics club which saw its finance director take thousands of pounds from the academy’s coffers have said they are heartbroken by her betrayal of trust.

Gemma Beeny (35) of Croyland Road, Peterborough, was the finance director at Stanground Community Space CIC and the Peterborough Gymnastics Academy when she took the money.

Yesterday Beeny appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court where she pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position.

She admitted taking £9,800 from Stanground Community Spaces, and £17,252 from Peterborough Gymnastics Academy over a period of nearly two years.

A spokeswoman for the gymnastics academy - which has around 150 members aged between four and 16 - said: “It has been heart wrenching for us.

“We wanted to use the money for new equipment for the children.

“We have a number of disabled children and the equipment would have helped them learn new skills.

“Everyone trusted her - she had been with the gym for a long time. We all feel massively let down. We are like a family here and can’t believe what she has done, especially as the money would be spent on the children.

“We are all pulling together, and it has not impacted the children at all - our children have won 70 medals in recent competitions.

“We hope this guilty plea can draw a line under this now - it is better she has admitted it, rather than deny it and go to trial.”

Beeny, who was dressed all in black for the hearing, sobbed as she was led into the dock at the start of the short hearing. She spoke only to confirm her name, address, date of birth and guilty pleas to the court.

She took the money from Stanground Community Spaces between January 1 2016 and October 20 2017, and the money from the Gymnastics Academy between January 1 2016 and November 15 2017.

Anthea Harris, prosecuting, said: “There are two victims in this case. The defendant worked as finance director for both.

“The reason for taking the money was to fund her gambling addiction.”

Mrs Harris said both groups were still struggling following the frauds, with a number of calls from creditors still coming in.

The court was told she could be facing a jail term when she next appears in court.

Martin Newton, defending, urged magistrates to keep the sentencing hearing at the magistrates’ court, rather than send it to the crown court where a judge would have greater sentencing powers.

However, after a short deliberation with her colleagues, chair magistrate Allison Marsh said: “We have listened carefully to what has been said, but we are very concerned about the impacts it has had on the two groups, as well as the children affected, and believe our sentencing powers are not suitable.”

The case was committed to Peterborough Crown Court, and Beeny was granted bail to appear at a sentencing hearing on a date to be confirmed.