TWO men are facing jail after they admitted conning a Burnley housing association out of more than £300,000.

Sean McGovern and Steven Jardine, both 35 and from Edinburgh, defrauded Calico after claiming cash for work that was never carried out.

The pair pleaded guilty to seven counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, when they appeared at Preston Crown Court on Monday.

Police said Calico Housing Ltd, of Centenary Court, Yorkshire Street, Burnley, was defrauded out of £331,800, between September 2004 and March 2005 when McGovern worked as the inside man at the company and paid cash to an account held by Jardine.

Calico looks after more than 5,000 houses which used to be Burnley Council's housing stock.

At the time of the offence McGovern was an employee of Pinnacle PSG Ltd and working as Head of Homeworks at Calico, with responsibility for the authorisation of the payment of invoices.

Jardine was the main proprietor of the company Skyline Roofing and Building Service Ltd, an Edinburgh-based building firm whose account the money was paid to.

Judge Andrew Gilbart adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports to October 12 when he advised both defendants to put their estates in order as "a custodial sentence is inevitable in this case."

Calico chief executive Mich-ael Birkett said none of the association's tenants had lost out as a result of the fraud.

He added: "Sean McGovern's actions were not simply a breach of our trust but a breach of the trust that our tenants place in us to deliver better homes and communities.

"The money that he took was intended for the benefit of those tenants and their homes and our greatest priority was to make sure that every penny was recovered.

"Thanks to the support of his employers, Pinnacle, and the effectiveness of our own internal monitoring systems which highlighted this fraud, we have done that.

"In doing so, we send out a clear message that neither Calico nor Pinnacle will tolerate abuse of trust in any circumstances and will support decisive action to deal with the perpetrators in all cases."

Detective Inspector Sam Birtwell, of Burnley CID, said: "This was a long and complex investigation and two of my detectives spent a great deal of time on it, carrying out inquiries both in Burnley and in Scotland.

"Although the investigation has been a protracted one because of the scale and nature of the fraud, we felt it was in the public interest to pursue it."

Burnley and Padiham Community Housing - renamed Calico - took over Burnley Borough Council's former housing stock of 5,300 houses in 1999.