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Leeds Grand fraud investigation sees two men charged

The interior of Leeds Grand Theatre. which was the subject of a fraud investigation.
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Two men have been charged with conspiring to defraud the financially troubled Leeds Grand Theatre out of more than £178,000.

Peter Alp, 52 from Kent, and Dean Oates, 45, from York, will appear at Leeds Crown Court on October 24, after being charged at the end of last month.

It is alleged that the pair conspired together to commit fraud by making false invoices – of which there were 54 in total – to the theatre. The overall amount the pair tried to defraud Leeds Grand Theatre out of is £178,340.

News of the charges comes after Leeds City Council, which owns the theatre, admitted it could no longer afford to run the venue in July this year.

A report by the council said that “ongoing financial returns have demonstrated it is not operating within its available resources”. In June, the council had to step in to provide the theatre with £653,000 of bail-out money.

The alleged fraud came to light after the council carried out an audit of the management company running the theatre last year.

A 54-year-old woman was also arrested at the same time as Alp – formerly head of finance at the theatre – and Oates. She remains on police bail.

A spokeswoman for the council said it could not comment while the case was ongoing.