A St Helens woman has admitting stealing thousands of pounds from a charity set-up to help a cancer-stricken former motocross racer.
Terri Mellor, 47, siphoned off over £6,000 from the Friends of Huck and used the cash to fund her lifestyle.
The charity was launched to help raise funds for Mark Hucklebridge, who is suffering from terminal bowel cancer.
Hucklebridge, one of Britain’s top motocross riders, was diagnosised in 2010.
His family and friends launched a series of fundraising events, publicising their appeal on social media.
Mellor befriended a Friends of Huck organiser via Facebook and offered to run an Ebay auction for the charity.
But after a period of time, they became suspicious when Mellor failed to hand over the proceeds from the auctions.
And as time went on, it became increasingly difficult for the victim to access the shared PayPal and EBay accounts.
They then discovered no money had been transferred to the charity’s bank account but had instead been moved into Mellor’s private account.
When Mellor, of Tennyson Street, Sutton Manor, failed to provide an adequate explanation, they contacted the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
The NFIB transferred the case the Merseyside Police, whose investigation revealed Mellor had stolen a total of £6,374.22.
When interviewed by police she initially denied any wrongdoing but then admitted her crimes but could offer no explanation.
She was charged with fraud by abuse of position and theft.
When she appeared before magistrates in St Helens, she entered guilty pleas and was sentenced to 26 weeks jail suspended for two years.
JPs called her offences “nasty” and an “abuse of trust”.
She was also ordered to serve a 12-month community order and repay the stolen amount.
During their investigation, police discovered the volunteers running Friends of Huck charity had never meet Mellor.
However, they were mutual friends with several people on Facebook and believed she was trustworthy.
After her conviction, police warned charities to be extra vigilant about trusting individuals they meet online.
The Reporter contacted the Friends of Huck but they did not respond to our request for an interview.