Navy club official admits £51,000 of fraud in court

GUILTY Martin Foster
GUILTY Martin Foster

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THE former treasurer of a Royal Navy veterans’ association has been warned he faces jail after pleading guilty to defrauding tens of thousands of pounds from the club.

Martin Foster has admitted two counts of fraud by abuse of position as the treasurer of the HMS Ganges Association – one for making numerous bank transfers, and one for repeated cashpoint withdrawals from the association’s accounts.

Over the period from August 15, 2010 to June 7, 2012 the 54-year-old defrauded his colleagues out of at least £51,000 through manipulation of the accounts that he had access to through his role.

Addressing Foster during a hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court, Judge Jane Miller said: ‘With a breach of trust like this, which represents a significant breach of trust, a custodial sentence is the most likely sentence that will follow.’

Ten members of the association attended the hearing of their former colleague.

The association has more than 3,000 members with 30 divisions across the globe. It is open to anyone who has a link with the former naval training base at Shotley Gate in Suffolk which closed in 1976.

Afterwards, the association’s chairman Shep Woolley, from Portsmouth, said the case has had a negative effect on them.

He said: ‘It has had a huge impact on us. People have said to me “we aren’t staying in the association if you can’t look after our money better”, which is sad.’

‘What makes me angry is that he looked these old boys in the eye and lied to them about their money,’

Foster was arrested last August. The original charges were for a total of £78,000, but this latest hearing featured a revised figure which is expected to be agreed between the Crown Prosecution Service and defendant.

The hearing was adjourned to allow the probation service to compile a presentencing report and Foster, of Haig Road in Uxbridge, Greater London, is due back at court for sentencing on September 13.