Grandfather, 60, is found guilty of stealing £87,000 from children’s cancer charity he founded after his grandson was struck down with the disease
- Colin Nesbitt, 60, siphoned off money to pay for holidays and a static caravan
- He had sole control of the accounts and did not want other people banking cash
- Nesbitt convicted of four fraud offences and one of theft between 2009-2015
- The charity founder denied any wrongdoing and will be sentenced on April 30
A grandfather has been found guilty of stealing £87,000 from a children’s cancer charity he founded after his grandson was struck down with the disease.
Colin Nesbitt, 60, founded ‘Little Heroes Cancer Charity’ to bring toys to sick children in hospital.
But the director, from Bingley, West Yorkshire, siphoned off money to personal bank accounts to pay for holidays and a static caravan.
Nesbitt was convicted yesterday of four fraud offences and one of theft between 2009 and 2015. He will be sentenced on April 30.
Colin Nesbitt (pictured above, outside Bradford Crown Court), 60, siphoned off money from the charity to personal bank accounts to pay for holidays and a static caravan
He was found guilty of two charges of abusing his position as director of the Little Heroes Cancer Trust by transferring monies and/or depositing cash and cheques belonging to the trust in sums of £44,000 and £181,230 into accounts in his name.
He was cleared of a further similar charge of fraud in the sum of £120,482.
Judge Jonathan Gibson, sitting at Bradford Crown Court, told him ‘a custodial sentence will be under consideration’.
Nesbitt’s bail was enlarged until the sentencing hearing.
Nesbitt was convicted of making dishonest loans in the sums of £16,000 and £5,000 and stealing £87,080 belonging to the Little Heroes Cancer Trust. He was acquitted of a further count of stealing £7,000 from the trust.
He was cleared part-way through the trial of three charges of supplying false or misleading information to the Charity Commission.
Judge Jonathan Gibson, sitting at Bradford Crown Court (file photo, pictured above), told him ‘a custodial sentence will be under consideration’
Prosecutor James Lake told the jury that Nesbitt paid large amounts of cash into accounts not linked to the charity and gave out dishonest loans with its money on two occasions.
He had sole control of the accounts and did not want other people banking cash from fundraising events.
The trust was founded in 2008 to give toys to children in hospital with cancer. The idea came when Nesbitt’s own grandson became ill with the disease, the jury heard.
Nesbitt was convicted of four fraud offences and one of theft between 2009 and 2015. He will be sentenced on April 30
Nesbitt told the court: ‘It was awesome taking toys to sick children.’
The toy drops began at St James Hospital in Leeds, but spread to other hospitals across the country with £1,000 spent on toys every time.
Nesbitt conceded it was hard to keep a track on the finances but denied any wrongdoing.
‘I wasn’t being careful enough with the money but I wasn’t being dishonest,’ he said.
But Mr Lake labelled him ‘greedy and dishonest.’
‘He did raise money for charity and put smiles on children’s faces but all the while he was the charity’s biggest liability and feathering his own nest,’ he said.
He accused Nesbitt of using the charity’s money for his personal expenditure, including buying a suit and paying for a holiday in Gran Canaria and skimming cash off the fundraising fire walk events.
Little Heroes raised money through charity auctions, gala days and donations; however, 90 per cent of its money came from ‘firewalks’.
These events were often held in pubs and saw people get sponsored to walk over hot coals.
Mr Lake said Nesbitt had torn open and emptied the charity’s money bags and had used trustees as puppets.
He told the jury: ‘Colin Nesbitt is a dishonest man. He did not run this charity badly, he ran it dishonestly.’