Former chair of RSPCA branch jailed for taking £184,000

Peter Ralphs, 69, of Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty to stealing the money between 2014 and 2017

Peter Ralphs
Peter Ralphs

The former chair of the Shropshire branch of the RSPCA has been jailed for three years for stealing £184,000 from the charity.

Peter Ralphs, 69, of Shrewsbury, was sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Friday after admitting at the end of last year to one count of fraud by abuse of position.

The fraud against the charity, which is separate from the national RSPCA, was carried out between 3 November 2014 and 1 January 2017.

Ralphs stood down in early 2017 when the fraud came to light.

According to the Charity Commission website, the charity typically has an income of about £250,000 a year.

But the charity’s latest accounts for 2016 and 2017 are yet to be submitted, and are now 440 days and 75 days overdue respectively.

A statement from the charity said staff were "heartbroken that money donated to a branch to help animals in need was taken in this way".

The statement said: "When concerns were raised we acted immediately to investigate, put in safety measures for the governance of the branch and ensure the branch continued its vital work helping animals in Shropshire.

"We would like to thank the staff and volunteers who continue their excellent work promoting animal welfare across Shropshire and thank supporters of this branch."

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