Woman who stole more than £4k from Stroke Association group avoids jail

Valerie Dale, 43, from Lurgan, County Armagh, has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service and repay the money she stole from the Young Women After Stroke group

A woman who took more than £4,000 from a group that is part of the Stroke Association in Northern Ireland has avoided prison.

Valerie Dale, 43, from Lurgan, County Armagh, was convicted at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court earlier this week of two counts of theft after numerous payments totalling £4,040 were taken from the group she helped to run, Young Women After Stroke, between April 2016 and February 2017.

The charity is part of Stroke Association Northern Ireland. The charity confirmed it had alerted the authorities after the theft came to light.

Dale was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and 18 months on probation, and ordered to repay all the money she took.

A spokesman for the Stroke Association said £1,500 of the money had already been repaid.

In a statement, Barry Macaulay, director of Stroke Association Northern Ireland, said: "We are deeply upset and disappointed that someone who was employed by us abused their position and our trust to commit theft and fraud.

"This was the action of one individual and is not representative of our dedicated and committed staff across the charity. We are truly sorry that this happened and have been working with and supporting the Young Women After Stroke group throughout this ordeal."

He said that the charity had reviewed its systems and practices after the theft came to light.

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