Fraudster stole £106k from Cancer Research Relay for Life fundraisers

Credit PA
Credit: PA

A fraudster who stole £100,000 from fundraisers for Cancer Research UK has been jailed for more than three years.

Ian Smith used the money intended for the charity to fund his own lifestyle after abusing his position as treasurer of the Relay for Life fundraiser in Clacton in Essex

The 54-year-old was jailed for 40 months after pleading guilty to the count of fraud by abuse of position.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how the money stolen was raised by selfless volunteers through the races and other community activities such as auctions and car washes. 

Efforts have begun to see if the money can be recovered and given to the charity. 

Smith defrauded the charity over several years. Investigations began when it emerged that no money had been submitted to Cancer Research UK for its Relay for Life events in 2018 and 2019.

When questioned by police he defended his actions by saying that amounts may have been incorrect due to stress, and he did admit to keeping some cash donations for himself.Cancer Research UK said it was "shocked and disappointed" by Smith's actions.

Trudy Stammer, head of supporter-led fundraising said: "We rely on the generosity and goodwill of the public in helping to raise money for our life-saving work.

"Mr Smith has betrayed our trust and let down both our supporters and colleagues."

She added: "There are no plans to stage Relay For Life Clacton in 2023 but it is hoped that the event will make a successful return in future years."

Det Con Joanna Barnes said: “It’s unfathomable how anyone could try and justify using charity donations given in good faith to fund their own lifestyle.

“The vast majority of team members for Clacton’s Relay for Life give up their own time and money to organise events.

“They work incredibly hard to raise money for a charity that funds lifesaving research.”

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