Chief of animal charity arrested in connection with 'theft of £450k'

Simon Price, 52, chief executive of Birmingham Dogs Home was arrested and then bailed last Friday

The chief executive of a Birmingham dog charity has been arrested on suspicion of stealing funds, amid claims that as much as £450,000 was taken.

Simon Price, 52, chief executive of Birmingham Dogs Home, was arrested and bailed on Friday on suspicion of theft, Third Sector understands.

Sources told The Sun newspaper that Price had stolen £450,000 of the charity’s funds, although a spokesman for the charity was unable to confirm this figure.

The theft was uncovered after trustees noticed financial irregularities in the charity’s accounts and investigated, the charity said.

John Wheatley, the chair of the charity, said he was "bitterly disappointed" by the theft.

"Staff, patrons, trustees and other parties have been informed and we are all deeply shocked and saddened that someone within the charity would abuse a position of trust," he said.

"I would like to assure everybody that the wellbeing of the dogs that our wonderful staff care for remains top priority and will not be affected by this awful crime."

He said no donor account information had been jeopardised and the charity was reviewing its systems with independent advisers to prevent such thefts happening again.

"I am also hopeful that we can recover the stolen funds and return them to their original purpose of rescuing, caring for and rehoming abandoned dogs," Wheatley said.

Birmingham Dogs Home had an income of £3.3m and an expenditure of £1.7m in 2015, according to figures on the Charity Commission website.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said a 52-year-old man from Solihull had been arrested on suspicion of theft and bailed until 9 December.

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said the regulator was aware that a person linked to BDH had been arrested.

"The commission is liaising with the police and assessing the information recently provided before deciding the appropriate regulatory action to take," she said.

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