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19 August 2016, 16:47
A former Maidstone school teacher has been ordered to pay £6,000 to his previous place of work after being found guilty of fraud.
Steve Restarick, 44 and of Sutton Road in Maidstone, worked as the head of physical education at Maidstone Grammar School between 2009 and 2014 but during this time used school money to fund a private sports coaching business.
He denied the offence but a jury found him guilty at Inner London Crown Court on Monday 23 May.
He was given an 18 month sentence, suspended for 18 months, at the same court on Friday 19 August. He was also ordered to pay back £6,000 as well as complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
The court heard that Restarick joined the Barton Road school as a teacher in 2002 and in 2005 he set up a football training school, called Premier Football School, in partnership with the establishment.
It was agreed that Restarick could run the business on school grounds with the profits evenly divided however this agreement ended in 2009.
From this point on Restarick was instructed to fund the venture himself, with the only income received by the school being an agreed rental fee for use of its football pitches.
In February 2014 a large amount of equipment emblazoned with his business’ name were discovered inside a disused changing room on school premises. This equipment was also stored in a school pavilion inside boxes only Restarick had access too.
An assessment of department invoices found purchases for the Premier Football School going through the school’s P.E budget.
Further to the charge of fraud, Restarick was charged with three counts of witness intimidation and one count of theft by employee. A jury acquitted him of these charges.
Investigating Officer DC Simon Powell said: ‘Restarick was undoubtedly a very talented, popular and respected teacher but he took advantage of his position to grow his own business over a number of years.
‘Restarick’s actions meant a school which was funded by the taxpayer was deprived of money that should have gone to its pupils.
‘The investigation into this was lengthy and complex and it and the sentence he has received is entirely appropriate.’