Ex-Miners' Union Boss Stole From Care Home

(c) Sky News 2012

A former president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers has been found guilty of stealing thousands of pounds from a miners' care home to pay for improvements to his own property.

Neil Greatrex was convicted on 14 theft charges at Nottingham Crown Court.

The money was stolen from Phoenix Nursing and Residential Home Ltd, a subsidiary company of the UDM charity Nottinghamshire Miners Home, to settle invoices from two building firms and a joiner amounting to a total of £148,628.83.

UDM general secretary Mick Stevens, who was accused of the same charges, was cleared by the jury.

The men were trustees of the charity and the subsidiary company. They were able to sign cheques on its behalf, the court heard.

In his defence, Greatrex said a new kitchen for his home had been paid for by Phoenix, but he had taken this instead of a salary to which he believed he was entitled.

"I believed I was entitled to a reasonable salary and expenses from the Phoenix for the work that I was doing for the Phoenix," he said.

However, Mr Stevens told the court he had no knowledge of the arrangement, saying he himself did not expect a salary and that he did not know Greatrex was taking a salary.

He told the jury he would not have authorised any payment through the charity for work to his or Greatrex's homes.

Greatrex spent more than 20 years in the National Union of Mineworkers before forming the UDM in 1985.

He became a controversial figure for speaking out against NUM president Arthur Scargill's tactics in the 1985 strikes.

He formed the UDM claiming that nobody was speaking out for Nottinghamshire miners, prompting a great split between workers.

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