Cyber criminals steal £235k from Bury Hospice

image caption, Hospice officials said its services would not be affected by the scam

Cyber criminals have stolen £235,000 from a hospice - and a similar attempted theft was thwarted at another hospice the following day.

Bury Hospice chairman, Prof Eileen Fairhurst, said staff and volunteers were "shocked and sickened" by the theft which came to light on 11 July.

Staff at Bolton Hospice spotted a similar attack the following day.

The City of London Police, which deals with high level cyber crime in England, is investigating the scam.

Prof Fairhurst said: "It is beneath contempt when you think of how this money was raised by hard-working volunteers and kind benefactors - and what it is needed for."

'Very distressing'

Bury Hospice's most recently recorded income was £2.2m in the financial year 2015-16.

It said the theft would not affect its running and "all avenues are being explored" to try and recover the lost funds.

A spokeswoman for The Charity Commission said: "We can confirm that Bury Hospice has reported a serious incident to us although we aren't able to provide any more information at this time."

Dr Leigh Vallance said Bolton Hospice was "subjected to a very sophisticated fraud attempt" the day after Bury Hospice was hit.

Had the thieves been successful, it would have led to the potential loss of a significant amount of money, for Bolton Hospice, she added.

She said thanks to robust internal financial control systems and the vigilance of staff the attempted fraud failed.

"Even so, the impact on my staff has been very distressing for them, knowing that this could so easily have been a very different story," she continued.

It was a triangulated attack that involved the fraudsters contacting one of the hospice's major suppliers and using their bank's telephone number on the caller display.

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