Couple pocketed cash meant for hospital baby unit

Crime news and court reports from the Peterborough Telegraph -
Crime news and court reports from the Peterborough Telegraph -
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A Huntingdon couple who pocketed cash intended for a hospital baby unit have been ordered to pay compensation to the charity.

Julia Harriss (32), and Daniel Harriss (31), both of Butts Close, Somersham, pleaded guilty to theft at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on Monday (February 4).

The couple, who own a ghost tour company, set up a charity walk claiming it was in aid of the Special Care Baby Unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in August last year.

They advertised the event in the local papers and sold £30 tickets to people who had seen the advert and wanted to help raise money for the special cause.

Several walkers tried to contact the couple after the event to find out how much had been raised, but were unable to get hold of them and found the Facebook page had been deleted.

They contacted Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust who confirmed no money had been paid to the charity and a police investigation was launched.

The couple admitted they had organised the event but had not paid any money to the charity.

Both were given 24-month conditional discharges and were each ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. They were also ordered to pay £916 compensation to Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust.

Det Con Suzanne Pickard said: “This was a deceitful and dishonest crime in which the Harrisses duped people into thinking they were donating to charity.

“I’m glad the hospital has been given some compensation and I hope it will deter people from seeking to profit by dishonestly claiming to be collecting for charity.”