The chief executive of an animal shelter who plundered donations of £640,000 in nine years to fund his online gambling habit has been jailed for five years.

Simon Price, 53, diverted cash from legacies left to Birmingham Dogs Home to pay for his losses on his Betfair online account. He also raised money with fake invoices from solicitors, construction companies and marketing companies. He admitted multiple counts of fraud by abuse of position. Sentencing Price Judge Patrick Thomas QC told him that his crimes, “while in the grip of a gambling addiction” had “weakened public confidence in the work of the dog’s home.

Price’s wife Alayna, 39, also admitted helping herself to £254,000 of the charity’s money whilst working as its head of fundraising, and using it to pay off a loan, credit card debts and her wedding to Simon Price six weeks before they were arrested. She was given a two year suspended sentence as she had already paid back half of the money she stole.

Two West Midlands properties owned by the couple, who have now split up, have been seized by the police and will be sold to pay back more money to the charity.

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