Fraudster ordered to repay �70K quicker

A fraudster ordered to sell his stamp collection to repay nearly �70,000 that he stole from two north Norfolk churches was "not delivering", a court heard.

A fraudster ordered to sell his stamp collection to repay nearly �70,000 that he stole from two north Norfolk churches was "not delivering", a court heard.

Derek Klein, 54, had raised �25,000 from the sales since being convicted of theft in September 2007.

But Judge Peter Jacobs, at Norwich Crown Court, told the former church treasurer to increase the repayments to �2,000 a month.

The court heard Klein, of The Street, Ridlington, near North Walsham, had been using the internet auction site eBay to sell the stamps.


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'His intentions may have been good but he is just not delivering,' said Judge Jacobs. 'There comes a time when it can't go on forever. I will wear it for a little bit longer but at the moment, with the credit crunch, I suspect things are getting tougher.'

William Cater, prosecuting, said the stamp market remained 'quite buoyant' and eBay sales were 'improving'.

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Klein was convicted of embezzling cash from councils governing churches in Ridlington and nearby Bacton to fund a gambling habit.

He was given a 16-month jail sentence after stealing the cash over more than two decades while working as a treasurer at the two churches.

Judge Jacobs approved the stamp sale after Klein served half his sentence. He said Klein could keep the proceeds once he had fully compensated the two church councils from which he stole.

Since then Klein has made two payments of �5,000 and one of �15,000, the court heard on Friday.

'There's some progress being made, albeit relatively slow,' said Mr Carter. 'At the present rate, we are going to be here for four years.'

Judge Jacobs set Klein a target of raising �12,000 in the next six months.

"If it's just not working, then I'm sorry, as much as this must vex Mr Klein, I'm going to call stumps at six months and he will lose the lot,' he said.

The court heard an auctioneer had estimated the collection could raise up to �30,000 if sold in a 'fire sale'.

But Klein claimed he could get more money through auctioning individual items.

Klein's is understood to be one of the country's leading stamp dealers. His collection is thought to contain tens of thousands of first-day covers, including stamps marking England's 1966 soccer World Cup win, the Silver Jubilee of George V and the silver wedding of George VI.

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