Northern Ireland

Adrianne Peltz admits £5,393 Dogs Trust fraud

Adrienne Peltz
Image caption Adrienne Peltz admitted using a Dogs Trust credit card for personal expenditures

A woman has admitted abusing her position at a dog welfare charity to defraud it of more than £5,000.

Adrianne Peltz, 34, of Beatrice Road, Bangor, pleaded guilty to using a Dogs Trust credit card for personal expenditures.

A defence lawyer said the exact amount of money involved in the fraud had now been "amended" to £5,393.

The offences took place between 10 April and 12 October 2017.

The full details have yet to be outlined to the court and the case was adjourned by Ballymena Magistrates Court until September for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

As well as her work with Dogs Trust, Peltz was regional co-ordinator of the Politics Plus organisation, which provides support to MLAs at Stormont.

The BBC understands she has now resigned from that position.

Politics Plus states that its objective is enhancing the capacity of MLAs and representatives of political parties.

On 2 July, Peltz was pictured with DUP leader Arlene Foster and the now Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he visited Stormont.

A source said her resignation from Politics Plus was "'very recent".

Previous press statements from the Dogs Trust said Peltz was the charity's campaigns manager for Northern Ireland.

She has been a spokeswoman for Amnesty International in NI and, on Thursday, was pictured on the Victim Support NI website as being on its board of trustees.

Following Thursday's court hearing, Victim Support NI said in a statement: "Victim Support NI is aware of legal proceedings involving Adrianne Peltz, which occurred prior to her voluntary role with Victim Support NI.

"The board of Victim Support NI are aware of the situation and are taking appropriate steps in line with our code of conduct.

Image caption On 2 July Peltz, far right, was pictured with Arlene Foster and the now Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he visited Stormont

"We have no further comment to make at this time."

The defendant is originally from South Africa, but has lived in Northern Ireland for a number of years and her other leading roles included the student union sector.

She has also frequently been a media commentator.

'Appropriate steps'

The Dogs Trust is the UK's largest dog welfare charity and cares for more than 15,000 dogs each year through a network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK including one in Ballymena.

Following Thursday's court proceedings, a Dogs Trust spokesperson said: "Events such as this are rare for us and we take them very seriously.

"We have taken appropriate steps to recover the funds where possible, so that we can put them back into the vital work we do.

"We would like to thank the police for their prompt assistance in this matter."