A former city councillor who was jailed for stealing £10,000 from his party in eight years has been ordered to pay back just £1.
Andrew Lilley, 50, was jailed for 16 months on November 1 after pleading guilty to fraud and false accounting between January 1 2008 and September 30 2012.
The former treasurer of Stoke-on-Trent Central Constituency Labour Party between 2004 and 2012 transferred money into his own accounts and made his unsuspecting wife sign cheques.
Lilley also forged her signature as well as doctoring the groups bank statements in an attempt to through his colleagues off the scent.
After an investigation was launched into the finances, Lilley had no choice but to confess to the fraud and resigned.
However, now, he was been ordered to pay back just £1 under the Proceeds of Crime Act due to him having no assets.
At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Judge Paul Glenn certified Lilley benefited from his criminality by £10,000 although declared the available amount to be the small sum.
He also made a confiscation order for the same amount.
If Lilley, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., who had represented Baddeley Green, Milton and Norton on Stoke-on-Trent City Council from May 2011, doesn’t pay up within 28 days, he will be forced to serve an extra seven days in prison.
Barry Stockley was chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent Central Constituency Labour Party before leaving the party in 2010, after attempts to suspend Lilley were blocked by regional party officials during a period of political infighting.
Mr Stockley said there was no point in trying to get any more money from Lilley if he had no assets, but said there had been a missed opportunity to prevent him taking as much as he did.
He said: “I’m very much in favour of action being taken against criminals under the proceeds of crime legislation to recover any money.
“But you have to have faith that in this case the court has made the right decision.
“If he has already spent all this money and now he has no assets, there’s no point in asking him to pay it back. You can’t get blood out of a stone.
“But I have always believed that if the Labour Party had taken action against Lilley sooner he wouldn’t have been able to take as much money.
“We were ready to take action against him in 2010, but he was allowed to carry on doing what he was doing until 2012.”