Card fraudster told he can teach IT skills

11th April 2003 at 01:00
GTCE decides a businessman jailed for four years can work in schools, as long as he does not deal with money. Becky Sharpe reports

A BUSINESSMAN jailed for four years for dishonestly making more than pound;550,000 has been told that he can teach information technology in schools.

Trevor Nelmes, 42, who completed a postgraduate certificate in education before being sentenced at Warwick Crown Court in September, 2001, was issued a conditional registration order by the General Teaching Council for England.

Presenting officer Sarah Page told the hearing that Mr Nelmes was director of APS Computer Components, which supplied mail order items from its offices in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire. In April 1999, it ran into financial difficulties. In June, Mr Nelmes told staff it was closing down. In the run-up to the closure, credit card transactions more than doubled as he took over responsibility for them.

Ms Page told the committee that trading standards officers began to investigate after complaints about false transactions on debit and credit cards. Mr Nelmes said a hacker had accessed the APS computer.

The court heard he had used the money to pay for a holiday in Canada and a car, and had written three cheques totalling pound;193,800 for computer memory chips. He stored the chips in his loft until September 1999 when there was a world shortage. He then sold them via a dormant company, making a profit of pound;212,000.

When police arrested Mr Nelmes they found pound;345,000 in a case in his loft. In September 2001, the court was told that Mr Nelmes had dishonestly made pound;556,389.

Ms Page told the GTCE hearing that Mr Nelmes had embarked on a PGCE course at Warwick University after he was charged with furnishing false information. He completed the course before his court case.

He was two terms into his probationary year at Trinity Catholic technology college, Leamington Spa, when he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

The school knew he had been charged when it employed him.

The Department for Education and Skills ordered the GTCE to investigate whether Mr Nelmes was fit to teach after he was released from jail in January this year.

Paul Rodbourn, representing Mr Nelmes, said: "There are two characters to Mr Nelmes, the character previous to his offences, and the character who now has genuine remorse for his wrong-doing."

Mr Nelmes, who will remain electronically tagged until October 2003, told the hearing: "I regret what I did but I cannot undo it. My wish is to put back something into the community which I took out."

Elizabeth Paver, chair of the committee, said she commended Mr Nelmes'

remorse and issued a registration order on condition that Mr Nelmes has nothing to do with money or management for the next three years.

After the hearing, Mr Nelmes said: "I am very happy with the decision. I have recently been offered a job and will be working as soon as the Criminal Records Bureau get round to working on my application."

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