NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Church minister stole £31,000 from pensioners fund

An Aberdeenshire minister who stole more than £31,000 pounds from a trust fund for pensioners has been ordered to carry out 300 hours of community work.

Ronald Gall, 58, took the money from the trust set up to help elderly people in Laurencekirk.

The minister was suspended from his position at Laurencekirk Parish Church and Aberluthnott Parish Church in Marykirk.

He admitted the crime at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

The minister used some of the money to buy a new car and pay off his debts but has since repaid the money in full.

He admitted stealing a total of £31,463.48.

Defence lawyer Gavin Anderson said: "The Reverend Gall is deeply ashamed of this matter and is deeply embarrassed."

He explained to the court that the minister got into financial debt after his youngest son fell ill with head migraines and under went an operation to relieve pressure on his brain.

When further health issues followed, the minister and his wife decided to seek private medical care.