A health service manager convicted of pilfering nearly pounds40,000 from a health authority to help buy a Spanish holiday villa has been jailed for two-and-half years.

Malcolm Smith, the former estates management director at Barnsley HA, was convicted of nine charges of taking the cash over a three-year period, and a further charge of misconduct while a public officer.

Barnsley HA is attempting to discover if it can recover the money he misappropriated.

It is also consulting the Pensions Agency, which previously advised that it had no power to deny Mr Smith a pension when he resigned in July 1997.

Mr Smith had been suspended from his job at the HA on full pay of pounds41,000 since March 1993, when police began an investigation into alleged financial irregularities.