A grandfather has been found guilty of stealing £87,000 from a children’s cancer charity he founded after his grandson was struck down with the disease.
Colin Nesbitt, 60, founded ‘Little Heroes Cancer Charity’ to bring toys to sick children in hospital.
But the director, from Bingley, West Yorkshire, siphoned off money to personal bank accounts to pay for holidays and a static caravan.
After a five-week trial, Nesbitt was convicted yesterday of four fraud offences and one of theft between 2009 and 2015. He will be sentenced on April 30.
In 2012, Nesbitt appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire, a reality show in which millionaires go incognito and agree to give away money to those in need.
In the episode, poker player Andrew Feldman gifted £100,000 to Little Heroes.
Colin Nesbitt (pictured above, outside Bradford Crown Court), 60, siphoned off money from the charity to personal bank accounts to pay for holidays and a static caravan
He was cleared of a further similar charge of fraud in the sum of £120,482 and acquitted of a further count of stealing £7,000 from the organisation.
Judge Jonathan Gibson, sitting at Bradford Crown Court, told him ‘a custodial sentence will be under consideration’. Nesbitt’s bail was enlarged until the sentencing hearing.
He was convicted of making dishonest loans in the sums of £16,000 and £5,000 and stealing £87,080 belonging to the Little Heroes Cancer Trust.
Nesbitt was also convicted of abusing his position as director of the organisation.
Prosecutor James Lake told the Bradford Crown Court jury the trust fundraised through events but that some of the cash was diverted to Nesbitt.
He had sole control of the accounts and did not want other people banking cash from fundraising events, it was heard.
Nesbitt was cleared part-way through the trial of three charges of supplying false or misleading information to the Charity Commission.
He was first arrested in 2015, three years after appearing on the Secret Millionaire, after financial concerns were raised by the commission.
In 2012, Nesbitt appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire, a reality show in which millionaires go incognito and agree to give away money to those in need
The charity was founded in 2008 to give toys to children in hospital with cancer. The idea came when Nesbitt’s own grandson became ill with the disease, the jury heard.
Nesbitt told the court: ‘It was awesome taking toys to sick children.’
The toy drops began at St James Hospital in Leeds, but spread to other hospitals across the country with £1,000 spent on toys every time.
Nesbitt conceded it was hard to keep a track on the finances but denied any wrongdoing.
He said: ‘I wasn’t being careful enough with the money but I wasn’t being dishonest.’