A FORMER school bursar, who raided their coffers to pay for sunshine breaks, has been ordered to repay nearly £80,000 to governors.

Burnley Crown Court was told Susan Ashworth, 58, who used to work at Baxenden St John’s Primary, had actually profited to the tune of £138,751.

But after an investigation by Lancashire Police, it was found her available assets amounted to £79,892.

Judge Andrew Jefferies QC said that this sum, which will be repaid directly to the school, appeared to be dependent on the proceeds from a house sale.

Ashworth, of Dorset Drive, Clitheroe, said Ashworth must serve a 12-month jail sentence, if the money is not handed over within three months.

But Judge Jefferies said that an application could be made to the court, if there were any delays with the house sale, to extend that period.

Prosecutor Nigel Booth said that £77,686 of the £79,892 Ashworth represented her interest in the market value of a house, which would be sold on.

Ashworth has already served the equivalent of a 29-month jail sentence, imposed at Preston Crown Court last July after she admitted to a theft charge and money laundering.

Jailing her at the time, Judge Beverley Lunt said she was motivated by “errant greed” and her victims included children who attended St John’s.

Prosecutors said Ashworth forged the headteacher’s signature, on occasions, or duped others into signing cheques, which they believed were for legitimate purposes.

But the court heard she spent around £33,000 of the missing money on holidays. Another £30,000 is estimated to have gone towards her son’s education, £17,000 went on mortgage repayments and £10,000 was frittered away on mobile phones.

Ashworth had already retired when she was found out by a member of the audit team at Lancashire County Council.

An official discovered she had been signing cheques to herself and a wide-ranging investigation was undertaken.

Prosecutors originally charged Ashworth with a £142,000 theft. However it was accepted around £42,000 of that total was money owed to Ashworth for legitimate expenditure.

Ashworth insisted, at the last hearing, she had repaid £32,000 back to the school.