Former USPCA chief executive arrested over fraud allegations

Stephen Philpott was sacked by the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in July after a review of corporate governance procedures at the charity

The former chief executive of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been arrested on allegations of fraud, Third Sector understands.

Stephen Philpott, who was sacked for gross misconduct in July, is understood to have been arrested along with a 52-year-old woman in Newry this morning by police investigating an allegation of fraud at the USPCA. 

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson, from the economic crime unit at the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said: "A complaint was made to police in April and, as a result of our enquiries, two people were arrested this morning.

"They are being questioned at Banbridge police station."

The USPCA did not name the people arrested, but a spokeswoman said in a statement: "We became aware of suspected irregularities in our organisation and passed the information to the PSNI for investigation.

"We will continue to offer every assistance to the PSNI while they carry out their inquiries.

"We thank our members and the public for their continued support at this time."

Philpott was suspended in March this year after a review of corporate governance procedures at the charity.

The review came after a long-running statutory inquiry into the charity’s governance by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

In a statement at the time of his dismissal, the charity said Philpott’s sacking "related to aspects of his management of the charity following a comprehensive review conducted by an independent consultant, a full disciplinary hearing and an exhaustive appeal process".

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