Crooked Newham Council youth offending chief jailed

17:00 11 July 2012

Council employee with OBE stole nearly £300,000 from local authority

A Youth Offending Team boss honoured by the Queen has been jailed for stealing almost £300,000 from Newham Council to fund his holidays.

Peter Nicholson OBE, 58, fronted a gang of fraudsters who claimed wages for ‘ghost’ employees of the council.

Nicholson arranged trips to Canada for himself and relatives, all at the expense of the local authority, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

In February 2005, he and 10 others had a 10-day break in Canada worth £4,000.

Nicholson, from Bexleyheath, claimed the council had “rewarded” him with the holiday after he was made an OBE, a title he is now likely to lose. But investigators rejected his claim as the trip had been booked before the New Year Honours List was announced.

He had previously booked a nine-day break to Canada for himself and his daughter using council funds in 2002.

The con took place while he was head of the Youth Offending Team between May 20, 2000, and August 31, 2007.

Nicholson’s duties involved co-ordinating efforts to rehabilitate young people who had committed crimes.

He was found guilty of five counts of conspiracy to defraud following an eight-week trial.

Nicholson authorised payment of three non-existant employees by the council in order to syphon off the cash.

The payments were arranged by his finance officer, Shirin Bazrcar, 51, the boss of staffing agency Excel Employment, which received more than £65,000.

Bazrcar’s firm hired David Tuck, 52, who ran Lads Construction and was paid thousands of pounds by the council for bogus building work.

Nicholson was jailed for five and half years and Bazrcar, of Hook, Hampshire, received a four-year sentence after being found guilty of four counts of conspiracy to defraud and two counts of money laundering.

Tuck, of Bexley, was said to have been “brought into” the scam by Nicholson and to have played a lesser role, received an 18-month jail sentence after being convicted of three counts of conspiracy to defraud and one of money laundering.

Passing sentence, Judge Neil Sanders said Nicholson had abused the “very high degree of trust” placed in him by the council by setting up the “sophisticated” scam.

Prosecutor Alexander Goudie said the total amount stolen was £281,771.90.

He added that payments had been put into accounts held by Bazrcar’s 16-year-old son, Ali. The address given for one ‘ghost’ was registered in the name of Nushan Mostani, Bazrcar’s sister.

Scott Wainwright, defending Nicholson, said he was a “broken man” and had lost everything due to the scam.

“During his tenure at the council he did some very positive work, with the Youth Offending Team being taken from the bottom to the top of the league.”

Martin McCarthy, for Bazrcar, said she suffered from a “troubled” mental state after the trial, leading her to undergo treatment.

Nicholson’s sister-in-law, Kerry Butler, 46, was found not guilty of a single count of money laundering but will face a retrial in November on a charge of conspiracy to defraud, after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

His ex-wife, Sheila Butler, was cleared of involvement on the judge’s direction.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Crime news

Friday, November 27, 2015
The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

A 16-year-old who bit a woman’s groin on Hampstead Heath, hit a man with a claw hammer and carried out violent and sexual assaults will serve just one year in jail.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: British Transport Police)

A large gang of young men surrounded a 17-year-old girl in West Ham Tube station and threw her to the floor in a frightening incident, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to after a woman was raped in Brixton last year (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A young woman said she was raped after accepting a lift on leaving a Brixton club last year and today police have released images of men they would like to speak to about the attack.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
A child can be seen being manhandled by a person who appears to be a Subway worker in the video posted online (Picture: YouTube/Kyss McQueen)

Alarming footage of boys trying to smash their way into a north London Subway branch to release their friend - who appears to be locked inside and forcibly held by a Subway worker - has gone viral on social media.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Vasilaki Kakko, a teenage boy who was stabbed to death in Holloway

A boy stabbed near Caledonian Road Tube station in Holloway, north London, has been named by police as Vasilaki Kakko.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Latest Tech News