HAMPSHIRE civic chiefs are considering taking action to rake back money defrauded by a dishonest school bursar.

Linda Whittaker, the bursar of a Winchester special needs school, received an 18-month suspended jail sentence for swindling £18,000 out of Hampshire County Council in faked overtime claims.

Last week the city Crown Court saw Whittaker sob and clutch a tissue to her face when told she had been “rumbled” for dishonestly submitting timesheets for her friend Patricia Hickman at Osborne School between 2008 and 2010.

Judge Jane Miller QC told her: “Together you manipulated the system. The claims were put in in an underhand.

"I have doubts that the work was ever worked by her. There should have been a second person in the dock with you.”

The court heard how Mrs Hickman is not being pursued by Hampshire County Council for the £18,000 that she received as a result of the fraud.

But a Hampshire County Council spokesperson later said: “Following Mrs Whittaker’s conviction on the charges relating to pay claims for Mrs Hickman, Hampshire County Council is considering options for the recovery of fraudulent payments made. Mrs Hickman left her employment at Osborne School for reasons unrelated to the case.”

Whittaker, 65, of Lovedon Lane, Kings Worthy, was acquitted of fraudulently claiming £54,000 in overtime payments for herself.

Osborne School, off Andover Road, declined to comment on the case.