Charity worker stole from the disabled

Derek Simpson

Derek Simpson

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A disgraced charity worker, who stole hundreds of pounds from the vulnerable victims he was supposed to be helping, has avoided jail.

Derek Simpson, of Alice Avenue, Leyland, was a senior manager at Linkability, a Chorley-based organisation which assists disabled people in Chorley and South Ribble.

He also was the lead director for a Rochdale based service linked to the charity.

The 43-year-old appeared before Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, and admitted three counts of theft and one of fraud by false representation.

A judge jailed him for nine months, but suspended the term for 18 months.

The trustees of the organisation have welcomed the sentence handed down to him and branded him “deceitful”.

In a statement they said: “Mr Simpson’s conduct can only be described as an appalling breach of trust, which has caused financial harm to the vulnerable adults whom Linkability supports and who, for legal reasons, cannot be named.

“Mr Simpson’s further admissions of theft and fraud from the Rochdale Buddy Community Interest Company (CIC) provide compelling evidence of his deceitfulness, dishonesty and total disregard for the governance of Rochdale Buddy CIC and his abject failure to abide by his legal duties as lead director of Rochdale Buddy CIC.

“Linkability’s immediate priority is to continue its review of all of the facts and circumstances of the case to consider whether there are any lessons that can be learned by Linkability to ensure such an appalling act can never occur again.

“Likewise, trustees are concerned to ensure that the vulnerable adults adversely affected by Mr Simpson’s actions are properly recompensed and they are taking legal advice from Kevills in such respect, whilst noting that there will be a further hearing in October to deal with aspects of recompense for the victims.

“Finally, Linkability would like to offer thanks for the support it has received from the agencies that have assisted them in their relentless pursuit of this matter.

“Once it became apparent to Linkability in March there were serious concerns about Mr Simpson, they took immediate action and are pleased to see it has taken less than five months to bring him to justice.”

The Crown Prosecution said he had stolen £1,600 from three Linkability service users, as well as £865 from Rochdale Buddy.

The court heard he stole £200 from a man assisted by the charity on February 20.

He also stole £800 from another man between January 11 and March 1, and helped himself to £600 belonging to a woman between January 18 and March 1.

In addition, Simpson made a false representation that he had paid invoices of £865 from his own pocket to claim cash back, when they had already been paid by the charity.

Simpson was given a four- month curfew and must pay a £100 victim surcharge.

No order for costs was made.