A CHARITY founder who stole more than £450 from her own organisation has been ordered to do unpaid work.

Alexandra Farenden stole cash from Ashley's Birthday Bank over nine months in 2015.

She was convicted of five counts of theft at Poole Magistrates' Court on Friday after a trial.

In total, Farenden, of Pine Road in Winton, stole £452.99 which had been given by generous donors.

Ashley's Birthday Bank was set up at the end of 2014 to provide support to people in need. Volunteers help those struggling financially, as well as victims of domestic violence, neglect and human trafficking.

Last year, the organisation gave 1,500 Christmas presents to local families in need.

Farenden, who left the charity in November 2015, was ordered to carry out 130 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months after being convicted of the thefts.

She must also pay an £85 victim surcharge and £500 costs to the prosecution.

A statement issued by the charity's current trustees reads: "Anna, Lynn & Danielle would like to state that the current theft case against Alexandra 'Alix' Farenden, original founder and former trustee of the charity, took place throughout 2015.

"This was addressed by the trustees at the time, as our suspicions were raised. A full investigation was undertaken by Action Fraud and Dorset Police, which has led to the court action.

"We continue to run the charity in a professional, honest, caring manner, and we hope the public will continue to support us."

In 2017, Farenden was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to a pensioner following a row at an Abba tribute night.

She was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence after causing the injury to 70-year-old Winifred Mary Oldham at Avon Social Club in April 2015.

Jurors heard Farenden "lost her temper in drink" and grappled with Mrs Oldham. The defendant tore the skin on the victim's arm during the row. The injury required a skin graft.