A funeral director has been jailed for eight months after stealing thousands of pounds from bereaved families intended as charity donations.
Robert Loveridge, from Teignmouth in Devon, took nearly £6,000 from mourners at various services but used it to fund his business rather than donating it to the designated charities.
He admitted in Exeter Crown Court to taking money from 26 different funerals over eight years.
The judge told him it was “staggering dishonesty”, reports the BBC.
The money taken was used by Loveridge, sole operator of Harris and Loveridge Funeral Directors in Teignmouth, to pay for staff members and for business expenses.
The thefts were uncovered when a grieving daughter contacted two charities to check they had received donations from both her mother’s and father’s funerals.
She was told that they had received no money or cheques, the suspicious daughter phoned the police, and Loveridge confessed.
Judge Geoffrey Mercer told him: “It was staggering dishonesty to steal money as you did from those who had given it to charity at a time of mourning.
“It was very dishonest and a huge deception of the people who trusted you.”
The charities who suffered from stolen donations included: Rowcroft Hospice; Devon Air Ambulance; Children’s Hospice South West; Alzheimer’s Society; PDSA; British Heart Foundation; Teignmouth Coast Watch; Teignmouth League of Friends; and the RNLI.
Loveridge was sentenced to eight months for his crime and states that he is selling his business and hopes to pay back all the stolen money.