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Rottweiler owner back in court

A ROTTWEILER breeder and kennel owner appeared in court again this week, charged with stealing £130,000 from the Scottish Tories - after they put her in charge of paying expenses.

Janet PerrieJanet Perrie of the Orbiston Kennels in Lanarkshire allegedly forged signatures on party cheques made out to herself during two years at their Edinburgh HQ. Background checks that would have shown she had two previous fraud convictions were not carried out and she was not caught until a month after leaving, and this week Perrie admitted embezzling £131,467.

Perrie, a married mum-of-two, had gone to work for the Tories at their Princes Street base in Edinburgh in July 2005. She had been seconded to the party as a "donation in kind" by Dunalastair Estates, who were paying the agency worker's wages. Background checks would have revealed convictions for embezzlement 1989 and 1994. But none was carried out and she was made an accounts assistant with duties including paying expenses and preparing cheques to be authorised. Perrie, 53, simply forged the necessary signatures and made more than 30 cheques out to herself. She covered her tracks by writing fake payments in the cheque book stubs.

The case was due to be heard in court in March this year but was postponed when Miriam Labaki, defending, said Perrie had injured her leg.

This week Sheriff Neil Mackinnon deferred sentence for background reports and Perrie will return to court next month. He said: "Obviously I take a serious view of this." A Scottish Tory spokesman said: "The money has been recovered and procedures have been put in place to prevent this happening again."

Last October she claimed that one of her dogs had died following a firework attack by local yobs. However, police suspicions were raised when Mrs Perrie refused to tell them where she buried the dog and the trial of two youths accused of carrying out the firework attack was scrapped.

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