Preston Space Centre £24k theft: Fiona Barnes ordered to pay back £1

Fiona Barnes arrives in court
Image caption Fiona Barnes, who stole from the Space Centre in 2012, was jailed at Preston Crown Court

A fundraiser, whose theft of over £24,000 almost ruined a charity, has been ordered to pay back £1.

Fiona Barnes, who also faked terminal cancer, was jailed for 15 months for the theft from Preston's Space Centre and perverting the course of justice.

The 55-year-old was ordered to pay back £1 at a Proceeds of Crime hearing at the city's crown court after she was found to have "no money to her name".

The centre said the ruling was "outrageous" and a "complete insult".

Barnes, of Brigend, Dunblane, stole £24,713 from the Space Centre in 2012.

She tried to cover her tracks by faking documents indicating the centre had won non-existent grants of up to £800,000 and was jailed in September 2016.

Image caption The Space Centre thought it had secured £800,000 of grants, only to find they never existed

Speaking after the hearing, Jane Robinson, deputy manager of the Space Centre, said: "It is a complete insult. I'd rather she didn't pay anything than she pays £1.

"After what she did, it just seems outrageous. She nearly ruined us."

The centre was bought out by charitable company Creative Support, based in Manchester, which has secured its future.

The Space Centre, which opened in 1993 and has three sensory rooms, is the UK's largest multi-sensory environment and supports children with physical, learning or emotional difficulties.

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