Former USPCA chief released on bail

September 19, 2016

The former chief executive of the north’s largest animal welfare charity, the USPCA, was released on bail last week following his arrest in Newry on Wednesday.

Stephen Philpott was arrested along with a 52 year old woman by police investigating an allegation of fraud.

Mr Philpott was chief executive of the USPCA until his dismissal in July on grounds of misconduct.

He had been suspended in March following an independent investigation into the management of the charity.

Mr Philpott, who had held his role as Chief Executive for more than a decade, was one of the most high-profile charity bosses in Northern Ireland, regularly speaking out in the media about animal cruelty issues.  The former Chief Executive also presided at the official opening of the USPCA’s state-of-the-art animal hospital in Newry last year, the first hospital of its kind in Ireland.

Police confirmed that officers investigating an allegation of fraud at the USPCA had arrested a 53 year old man and a 52 year old woman in the Newry area on Wednesday morning.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wilson, from PSNI Economic Crime Unit, said: “A complaint was made to police in April and, as a result of our enquiries, two people were arrested this morning. They are being questioned at Banbridge police station.”

In a statement, a USPCA spokesperson said: “We became aware of suspected irregularities in our organisation and passed the information on to the PSNI for investigation. We will continue to offer every assistance to the PSNI whilst they carry out their inquiries. We thank our members and the public for their continued support at this time.”