Royal Horticultural Society's former head of operations charged with fraud

Stuart Medhurst, 54, is accused of stealing nearly £700,000 from the charity over a 10-year period

Royal Horticultural Society
Royal Horticultural Society

The former head of operations at the Royal Horticultural Society will appear at Southwark Crown Court in London next week charged with being part of a fraud plot worth a reported £700,000.

Stuart Medhurst, aged 54, has been charged with conspiracy to steal and fraud by abuse of position, alongside Shaheen Kadri and Elaine Summers.

Having previously appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week, the trio will appear at a preliminary hearing at Southwark on 11 February, although no pleas will be entered on this date.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, Medhurst, who left the RHS in 2013, conspired to steal nearly £700,000 from the charity over a 10-year period.

A spokeswoman for the RHS said she was unable to comment on the amounts involved, but said: "We can say that over the past three years we have been conducting in-depth audits across all our work and implementing more robust measures and controls to protect the society. Today we’re in a much stronger position to ensure unacceptable activity cannot take place within the society. Any losses to the revenue of the charity will largely be covered by insurance."

The charity had 736 staff and an income of £71.9m in the year to 31 January 2014, down from £81.3m the year before, its accounts show.

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