Charges dropped against wildlife rescue charity founder arrested for alleged theft

Marianne Crowley, founder of Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries, faces no further charges, according to West Yorkshire Police

Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries
Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries

West Yorkshire Police has dropped charges against the founder of an animal rescue charity, who had been arrested over the alleged theft of £12,000 from the charity.

Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries, founded in 2001 by Marianne Crowley, has been the subject of scrutiny by the Charity Commission since it was reported last year that only 10 per cent of donations raised by an external fundraising company working with the Keighley-based charity was used to help animals.

The regulator produced a report in January, saying it was "concerned that such high fundraising costs would seriously damage the charity’s reputation and, by extension, undermine public trust and confidence in giving to charities more widely". The report said it had recommended governance improvements to the charity and announced that the charity had now ended that relationship with the fundraiser.

Crowley was later arrested and bailed in May 2014.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police told Third Sector last week: "A 57-year-old woman, arrested as part of an investigation into theft, has been released from police bail and faces no charges."

Crowley told Third Sector: "People have been harassing me for years, they’re trying to close me down and they have a vendetta against me, but they won’t close me down."

A spokeswoman for the commission said in a statement that it was continuing to monitor the charity. "We can confirm that we are keeping the charity Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries under review to ensure that it has taken steps to implement our regulatory advice about financial controls and good governance."

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