A CROOKED council worker who abused her power to cancel her own and her partner’s parking tickets has avoided jail.

Melissa Holloway, of Rembrandt Way, Reading, worked for Reading Borough Council for nine years and continued to use her position as a Civil Enforcement Supervisor to alter computer records and dupe her employer.

She admitted to 17 charges of fraud at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Monday and was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

The court heard how her offending had spiralled out of control after she had managed to get away tricking the council systems into thinking the fines had been paid.

In some cases, bailiffs would turn up on other people’s doorsteps after she changed the address to avoid having to pay the fines herself.

Shanda McAteer, prosecuting, said: “This was done on two occasions while she was on maternity leave and involved contacting bailiffs directly on one occasion.

“This was a significant breach of trust and went on for a number of years.

“She would do this in a number of different ways by altering the details or by manipulating the way it was processed to make it seem as though it had been written off or paid.”

Reading Chronicle:

Since August 2014, Holloway had been changing the progress of the enforcement notice to help her partner and her offending was eventually uncovered by the council when she was interviewed in August 2017.

Sally Thompson, defending, explained how going to prison could have had a ‘devastating affect’ on her one-year-old child after she lost her job at the council.

She added: “There was no clear-cut motive and no reason as to how it went on for as long as it did. She allowed herself to rack up all of the enforcement notices and panicked.”

Holloway will be required to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and take part in 15 rehabilitation sessions, in addition to paying compensation of £1,166 to the council.

A spokesman for the council said: “Melissa Holloway was dismissed by the council in November 2017 after an internal investigation uncovered the fraudulent activity.

“Such cases of wrongdoing by council employees are rare, but when they do occur they are dealt with robustly, as demonstrated by this successful prosecution.

“The council expects employees to act with honesty and integrity at all times and where these standards are not met, swift action will be taken.”