Ayrshire Catholic priest faces jail for embezzlement
A Catholic priest who stole £96,000 in two months from his Ayrshire parish is facing jail.
Fr Graeme Bell, 41, left St Mary's (Our Lady, Star of the Sea) in Saltcoats last June after financial irregularities were reported to police.
Bell, of Kilwinning, admitted embezzlement at the church between March and May 2015.
Sheriff Alistair Watson deferred sentence at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court until next month and granted him bail.
When allegations first emerged, parishioners at the church spoke of their shock, with one saying: "We knew something was up with Fr Graeme for a while but thought it was stress brought up by family issues.
"We were told there wasn't much could be said as the police were looking into it."
A spokesman for the Diocese of Galloway said: "We will await sentencing before making a comment."