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CHRIS WICKS: Wildlife champion stole £20,000 from own charity to pay son’s drug debts

 Published on: 24th May 2024   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

The founder of a wildlife charity in Rickmansworth stole money from his own charity to pay off his son’s drug debts.

On Friday, May 24, Chris Wicks was told that he must pay £4,600 in compensation to the charity, at a rate of £100 a month. However, Judge Francis Sheridan heard that Wicks had taken a grand total of £19,410 from the Chris Wicks Wildlife Trust (CWWT), formerly of Stockers Farm in Rickmansworth.

Defending himself without a lawyer, Wicks, 68, told the court that he had “every intention to pay back” the money that he had stolen from his own charity.

Wicks set up CWWT in 2014 and its finances operated legitimately until August 2021, when charity staff started noticing a series of PayPal transactions draining the charity of funds. Challenged by the treasurer and trustee in August 2022, Wicks admitted taking the cash to pay off his son’s drug debts.

The charity, which once boasted 6 trustees and 70 volunteers, is now permanently closed.

Judge Sheridan told Wicks: “You weren’t doing your son any favours. A more stupid, idiotic thing to do is hard to imagine.”

However, in acknowledgement of Wicks’ previous good character, the Judge decided not to sentence the van driver and former London Zoo volunteer to time in custody.

“You have thrown away your fine reputation,” added the Judge. “It is a tragedy.”

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