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Cornwall animal rights official jailed for £15,000 fraud

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 08, 2012

A former senior member of an animal rights lobby group has been jailed for spending £15,000 of the charity's money on himself.

Steve Taylor, the ex-head of campaigns and communications at the League Against Cruel Sports, used his company credit card to pay for trips and accommodation, for food and online shopping.

He even used it to pay for an Apple iPad as a present for the outgoing chief executive Doug Batchelor, pocketing the cash from a collection raised by colleagues to buy the leaving gift.

Taylor, of Tideford, Cornwall, was jailed for 16 months by a judge who described his fraud as "a serious breach of trust".

Staff at the League became aware of the credit card being used to make cash withdrawals and Taylor received a warning.

But the worker, who was involved in high-profile actions and in direct lobbying of MPs, continued in what was called "systematic purchases of goods".

Between January 2, 2010 and October 29, 2011, he made 333 separate transactions.

"These were both on the defendant's company credit card and also other persons', from whom he borrowed credit cards."

The total illicit spend was £14,925.88. The highest payment was £488, the lowest a mere 48p.

Adrian Lovett, defending Taylor, said in mitigation that his client did suffer some mental health issues and as far back as 1996 he tried to commit suicide.

Of the latest conviction, he said: "He doesn't understand why he did it."

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