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STRIPPED OF HONOUR

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

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THE MBE bestowed on a Dromara principal for services to education has been sensationally stripped from him in a move sanctioned by the Queen.

Stanley Poots (pictured) was awarded an MBE on 31 December 2010 - 18 months before his retirement as principal of Dromara Primary after 41 years.

However, five years after his retirement, the now 72-year-old admitted swindling the school out of 15,000 between 2006 and 2011.

It was for this reason that the Queen directed that his name be "erased from the Register of the said Order" last Tuesday (15 August).

Poots initially denied 25 fraud charges when he appeared in court at the beginning of 2016 however changed his plea to guilty last March admitting 14 of the charges including false representation, false accounting and forgery.

The charges included forging the signature of the school's Board of Governors to secure a pay rise for himself and to using funds from the school's bank account to pay for trees on his property to be pruned.

The disgraced pensioner was given an 18-month prison sentence but it was suspended by the court for three years. The Judge told Poots at the time that he will forever be remembered as "the principal convicted of fraud".

Poots was one of 11 people across the UK whose names were included in a notice announcing the dishonour that was placed in the London Gazette last week.

Honours can be taken away from people who have done something to damage the honours system's reputation.

The Honours Forfeiture Committee considers the case, whose discussions are confidential. If the committee recommends an honour is withdrawn, the decision is sent to the Queen by the Prime Minister. The Queen ultimately decides if the honour should be forfeited.

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