THE former chief executive of the Cotswold Water Park Society has appeared in court accused of defrauding the charity out of more than £700,000.

Dennis Grant, 63, of Old Glebe, Upper Tadmarton, Banbury, appeared at Stroud Magistrates Court on Monday charged with six counts of fraud and one of obtaining a money transfer by deception.

He was accused of pocketing £707,291.25 meant for the benefit of CWPS.

Grant was bailed to appear back at Stroud Magistrates Court in May for a committal hearing.

The alleged offences happened between November 2006 and July 2009.

He is accused of making false representations to companies or their representatives and having money paid into his own accounts which should have gone to CWPS.

Between 20-30 June 2007 it is alleged he pocketed £100,000 by giving Withy King solicitors his own bank details instead of CWPS details. The money was part payment of a contract between Kilbridges and the CWPS. Between January 21 and 17 March 2007 he allegedly had £25,000 put into his own private account when the money from Mayo’s Famous For Food Ltd was meant for CWPS. It is also alleged that on 21 December 2007 he transferred £170,833.33 into his own account relating to a deal between Watermark Group Ltd and CWPS. A further £58,333.30 from Watermark was allegedly transferred into Grant’s personal account instead of CWPS account between 20 December 2007 and 11 March 2009.

On 22 July 2008 it is claimed he denied CWPS £299,124.62 by transferring the money, paid by the Co-Op, into his own personal account. Between 30 January 2007 and 31 July 2009 it is alleged he made £46,500 at the expense of CWPS by falsely claiming the company Leisure Promotions Ltd, which was receiving monthly payments of £1,500, was not connected to him.

The charge of obtaining a money transfer by deception relates to an alleged offence between 8-14 November 2006 where Grant falsely claimed he was entitled to a £7,500 rental payment from Mayo’s Famous For Food Ltd, an amount rightfully meant for CWPS.

Prosecutor Mary Harley said given the amount of money involved the case should be deferred to crown court.

Grant was initially arrested in May last year alongside former CWPS finance director Nick Hanson but Mr Hanson later died following a suspected heart attack.