A respected funeral director has been given a 15 month suspended sentence for stealing at least £14,000 donated to charities by grieving families.

Alison Pople deprived Help for Heroes, the NSPCC and a local hospice in Cheddar of monies she was entrusted to pass on, and covered her tracks by forging letters of thanks relating to 46 funerals she organised between 2011 and 2014. Pople claimed that her company was in financial difficulties at this time and that the money was to prop up the business and not for personal financial gain.

Judge David Ticehurst said that there was no benefit in sending Pople to jail, despite her abuse of trust, a decision that puzzled some of her victims attending court, who shook their heads. She has, however been ordered to pay back around £8,000 to some of the charities affected.

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