'I'm disgusted cancer cash thief only got caution': Guest took money at Seaton charity event
A DECISION by police to issue a caution to a woman caught stealing from a cancer charity event has been branded "disgusting" by one of the organisers.
Karen McCleary had been a guest at the event at Seaton village hall, near Hornsea, raising funds for two cancer charities.
She was arrested after organiser Graeme Goodlass-Hillhouse spotted her acting suspiciously in a backstage area at the venue.
After being called to the premises, police found £500 in cash stuffed in her clothes.
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The money had been taken from a float for ticket sales and takings from a raffle stall at the event, which was raising funds for MacMillan Cancer Support and Marie Cure Cancer Care.
However Ms McCleary, who lives in Leas Lane, Seaton, was not subsequently charged with any offence.
Instead, she received a police caution.
Mr Goodlass-Hillhouse, who found out he had cancer four years ago, has organised a number of charity events since his diagnosis.
He said: "After discovering what she had done, I felt physically sick and wound up.
"So many people had given us so much support through donations and actually turning up on the night yet here was someone who was quite prepared to steal a lot of money destined for the charities.
"What made it even worse was that she tried to steal it on the night itself.
"Then, after giving full statements to the police, we were told she was only getting a caution.
"To say I am disgusted at the way this has been handled would be an understatement."
Mr Goodlass-Hillhouse said he became suspicious after seeing McCleary in a backstage area during the event last November.
"After she left I checked where the float was and the money was gone," he said.
"The only way I could think of making sure she didn't leave the venue before calling the police was to ask to borrow her phone, so I did.
"I dialled 999 on her phone and asked the police to come as quickly as possible."
A Humberside Police spokesman said: "When reviewing the evidence into this incident a caution was given in accordance with guidelines, which are followed when making a decision in connection with any criminal offence."
Last September the Mail revealed how Humberside Police had issued more than 18,000 cautions covering more than 220 different crimes over the past five years.
According to the Home Office, a caution is intended to act as a first official warning and to deter people from getting involved in crime.
However, Mail revealed several offenders had been given more than one caution with one criminal receiving six cautions in the past five years.