1. ITV Report

Pensioner admits stealing £99,000 from an animal charity

Jennifer Colenso arrived at court on Thursday having already admitted to her guilt. The accountant had defrauded an animal charity out of a hundred thousand pounds worth of donations for her own benefit.

We thought we were blessed for having an accountant helping us, helping the animals, we thought it was wonderful. Every animal from pets to wildlife, and we feel very, very let down

– PAULINE BUSSELL, CHAIRMAN, NORTH DEVON ANIMAL AMBULANCE

Colenso looked after the accounts for the charity that has a number of shops and hundreds of regular financial donors. But she helped herself to the money. Pleading guilty to nine charges she admitted taking a hundred thousand pounds.

The charity hired an accounting investigator to analyse the books and the discovery proved shocking. Five cheques to the value of more than forty five thousand pounds Jennifer Colenso had written to herself.

A further three cheques of around fifty thousand pounds were used to pay her own tax bill and to a renewable energy firm for solar panels installed at her local yacht club.

North Devon yacht club thought she loaned the money from her own account. But it had come from donations given to help support the work of the animal rescue charity run by Diana Lewis.

We went to the police and they started investigating and it ended up like this to our horror, we didn't know it was this extent but I only said I didn't trust her because she hadn't put the charity commission accounts in

– PAULINE BUSSELL, CHAIRMAN, NORTH DEVON ANIMAL AMBULANCE

The charity says it has nothing but praise for the twelve month police investigation that has led to Colenso paying back much of the stolen money.

Sentencing has been adjourned but Jennifer Colenso has been told she will receive a custodial sentence.