Secretary stole cash from support group

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A MAN with mental health issues who was not “mentally equipped” to be put in a position of responsibility has admitted stealing £3,750 from a support group he helped set up.

Brian Cannell, 58, was appointed as secretary when he became involved in the newly-formed Bourne Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Group. It rose from the ashes of the town’s Mind group, which closed as a result of cost-cutting.

Spalding Magistrates Court heard on Thursday last week that Cannell set up a bank account for the group with more than £6,000 raised from grants and donations, but from that day onwards no-one else within the group saw the statements.

Rebecca Ritson, prosecuting, told the court that as time passed one of the other members became increasingly suspicious as Cannell, of The Broadway, Morton, started buying things such as a laptop computer and Sky TV.

After several attempts to get access to the accounts, the police were finally called on November 14.

By this time the group was struggling to pay its rent.

Cannell went voluntarily to the police station and admitted he had used the money but said he had intended to pay it back from his disability allowance.

He said he had not used it for anything of substance, merely to improve his standard of living.

Dav Naghen, mitigating, said Cannell had been a patient of the Mind group, not an employee, and suffered a number of physical and mental health problems which meant he was not mentally equipped to take on the stresses and strains of the role.

He said Cannell was unable to give a good reason why he took the money but he used it to improve his living standards, which were very low and he accepts he had no right to take the money and is remorseful about the breach of trust.

Magistrates adjourned the case until January 10 for the probation service to prepare a report and Cannell was granted bail on the conditions he does not go to the Nationwide Bank in Bourne and does not contact or approach any members of the Bourne Wellbeing and Mental Health Support Group.

The group is continuing to operate at Wake House.