A thief stole thousands of pounds from a charity which aims to provide employment for traumatised ex-servicemen and women.
Charity collector Simon Lacey disappeared with money collected from merchandise sales and donations for the Bamber Bridge-based Our Local Heroes Foundation.
“You stole a substantial amount of money from a charity.”Presiding magistrate, Ian Robertson
Before fleeing with the money, he told a colleague he had to go and visit his nine-year-old daughter who was ill.
Lacey, 37, of Queen Street, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to theft of £2,193 from his workplace.
Presiding magistrate, Ian Robertson, told him: “Make no mistake, this is an extremely serious offence and in many circumstances people would immediately go to prison for this.
“You stole a substantial amount of money from a charity.”
Pam Smith, prosecuting, said Lacey worked for the company Targeted Management which collected funds for the Our Local Heroes Foundation.
Lacey was a senior member of staff and went all over the country raising money for the charity.
He had spent a few days in Bishop Stortford with a colleague collecting donations.
On April 11 this year he told the colleague he was working with that he had to go to London to see his daughter who was ill.
He left with the money collected for the charity and did not return.
Imran Majid, defending, said Lacey had got a call from his ex-wife saying their daughter was ill.
When he got there Lacey said his wife pleaded for cash and he gave the money belonging to the charity.
Lacey then felt ashamed of what he had done.
He ‘buried his head in the sand’ and stayed with someone in London.
But within two weeks he had returned to Blackpool and spoken to the police.
He confessed to his employer and said he wanted to pay back what he had stolen.
Run by businessman Steve Pearson, the charity finds employment for injured military veterans by setting up companies for them.
If successful, the revenue from the ventures is invested to create further companies and more jobs.
Lacey was sentenced to 16 weeks’ prison, suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 120 hours’ unpaid work for the community, and told to pay £2,193 compensation by Blackpool magistrates.