The founder of the Bradford-based Little Heroes Cancer Trust was today ordered to hand over nearly £25,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act following his conviction earlier this year of theft and fraud charges.

In April, Colin Nesbitt, 60, of Kent Road, Bingley, was jailed for 20 months after a jury convicted him of abusing his position as a director of the charity and stealing cash from the organisation he set up in 2008 after his grandson became ill.

The charity raised money from events such as “fire-walking” to pay for toy drops at hospitals and cancer units around the country.

Nesbitt was found guilty at Bradford Crown Court in March of one charge of theft and four of abusing his position as a director by transferring tens of thousands of pounds of the charity’s money into other bank accounts and using some of it as unsecured loans given to two other people.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An archive picture of Nesbitt receiving a donation of gifts to the charity

Judge Jonathan Gibson said his “very serious criminality” could only be met with an im-mediate prison sentence.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Gibson heard submissions from the defence that signif-icant amounts of money had been spent on legitimate charitable expenses and it could not be proven how much had actually been lost.

Nesbitt’s barrister, Matthew Donkin, said his client had been spat at in a local super-market and his convictions were a very public and very obvious punishment.

But the judge said his actions had affected public confidence in the Little Heroes charity and potentially in the charity sector in general.

“Money that could have gone for the alleviation of the plight of very sick children in-stead was spent for your own purposes,” he told Nesbitt.

This morning Nesbitt, who is no longer in prison, was back in court before Judge Gibson for a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Prosecutor James Lake said the Crown was being faithful to the basis on which he was sentenced in submitting that his benefit figure, including interest, was £41,995.50.

He explained that cash seized by the police and money in two bank accounts amounted to total realisable assets of £24,485.52 and that sum was ordered to be paid by Judge Gibson.

The court heard that the money was already under the control of the authorities and they would deal with the formalities for meeting the judge’s confiscation order within the next three months.