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Wildlife sanctuary founder Marianne Crowley bailed as police investigate
A Keighley animal charity founder has been arrested on suspicion of fraud regarding an alleged sum of £12,000 said to be missing from its accounts.
Marianne Crowley, who runs Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries, was arrested earlier this month and is currently on police bail pending further inquiries into the allegations.
But she has vowed to carry on fundraising and caring for animals.
Detectives have seized all the registered charity’s accounts following claims donations of £7,000 and £5,000 made last summer are unaccounted for.
Wildlife Rescue Sanctuaries was probed by the Charity Commission last year, which found only 10p out of every £1 collected was going to fund welfare projects, and cited it as a national example of poor practices.
The commission was critical of the use of outside fundraising agencies and a lack of proper accounting procedures.
Mrs Crowley, 57, who runs the animal welfare charity at Springfield Mills in Oakworth Road and a shop in Shipley, said at the time she would heed the commission’s advice and change her collection policies.
And despite her arrest, she has pledged to keep working at the centre.
“It won’t stop me – we will carry on,” Mrs Crowley said defiantly.
“I’m at the end of my tether with all this and said on Facebook I might close down, but we’ve had hundreds of messages of support saying ‘please keep up the good work’.”
Mrs Crowley said an open day on Sunday raised £219 from dozens of visitors, and another was planned for this coming Sunday at the centre.
Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg, of Bradford District CID, said: “A 57-year-old woman from Keighley was arrested on suspicion of theft on May 8 and has subsequently been released on police bail.
“The arrest relates to an allegation that £12,000 was stolen from an animal charity between June and the end of July last year.”