A burglar who repeatedly stole money from those who trusted him the most has been sentenced – after being caught on CCTV.
Michael Scott, of Broom Walk, Scarborough, admitted four charges of entering a building as a trespasser with intent to steal.
The building, at 34 Durham Street, is Hatton School of Performing Arts – the school where his wife is a much-loved teacher.
Owner Julie Hatton said staff had reported money go missing from the reception area, including staff wages, collection tins and payments for coaches and competitions.
“Initially we thought it was a member of staff or a pupil,” said Julie, “because they would have to know where things are kept and have easy access. So everybody was
“For me it was heartbreaking because why would anyone steal from me? I’m the kind of person that if you need money, just come and ask!
“The atmosphere was horrific. Everyone was uncomfortable and upset, first because they’d been accused but also because they were wary about each other.
“Staff weren’t allowed to be in reception on their own, students dared not come into reception. It got to a point where, after 26 years, I started questioning whether I wanted to carry on with my business and that was heartbreaking.”
The distress led Julie to install CCTV. The footage was reviewed for the first time after a burglary.
“We went back to the previous Saturday and because the camera only records when there’s activity in the room, it jumped from 6.15pm to 4.45am on Sunday.
“We saw the door unlock and two steps in by the culprit, my face just dropped. I started shaking and my daughter started crying because she was frightened.
“We’ve known Mike for years, he’s a family friend and his wife works here. He himself has raised money for us.”
As Julie and staff continued to review the footage, the truth came out.
She said that each time it was about 4.45 in the morning, he was wearing his running gear because he’d been off for a run, and let himself in.
“Every time he appears to be very calm, he knows exactly what he’s doing and where to look for the money.”
The 44-year-old painter and decorator appeared at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court on 8 April where he pleaded guilty to four charges that took place in February and March.
He was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months due to his early guilty plea and “significant remorse shown”.
He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £88.43 of compensation and a victim surcharge of £115.
Julie said: “Me, my staff and my students were targeted by a man we all knew and trusted.
“It affected me physically and mentally, it’s the most horrific feeling.”