Wildlife sanctuary boss quizzed over 'missing' cash

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Marianne Crowley Marianne Crowley

The founder of Keighley-based Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries has been arrested on suspicion of theft of £12,000 from the charity, but has vowed to carry on fundraising and caring for animals.

It has emerged that Marianne Crowley, who set up and runs WRS, was arrested earlier this month and is currently on police bail pending inquiries into the allegations.

Detectives have seized all the registered charity’s accounts following claims donations of £7,000 and £5,000 to the registered charity last Summer are unaccounted for.

Mrs Crowley, 57, runs an animal welfare unit at Springfield Mill, Oakworth Road and charity shop in Shipley.

Following her arrest she pledged to keep working to help the vulnerable wildlife in her care.

She denied all the allegations and said: “It won’t stop me - we will carry on.

“All the books and accounts are with the police and they have said they will trace what happened to this £5,000 and £7,000 which is supposed to have been given to me.

“I’m at the end of my tether with all this and said on Facebook I might close down, but we’ve had hundreds of messages of support saying “please keep up the good work.”

And Mrs Crowley said an open day on Sunday had raised £219 from dozens of visitors and another was planned for this coming Sunday at the Springfield Mills site.

Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg of Bradford District CID, said: "A 57-year-old woman from Keighley was arrested on suspicion of theft on Thursday, May 8 and has subsequently been released on police bail.

"The arrest relates to an allegation that £12,000 was stolen from an animal charity between June and the end of July last year."

Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries was probed by the Charity Commission last year which criticised it for inefficiency and cited it as a national example of poor practices.

The Charity Commission was critical of the use of outside fundraising agencies and a lack of proper accounting practices.

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