This is the face of a charity treasurer who stole more than £800,000 in donations by taking raffle tickets from a lavish gala dinner attended by international superstars.

Amanda Bishop, of Damson Drive, in Mortimer, started a five-year sentence on May 9 after keeping money intended to help GroceryAid.

The 54-year-old had volunteered with the Sandhurst-based charity for 23 years and ascended to the role of treasurer, but was found to have been stealing from them over a period of six years.

She was the driving force behind an annual gala dinner, organised to raise money for the charity, which included the sale of raffle tickets at £20 per piece.

Headliners and supporting acts over the years had included Tom Jones, Kylie and Michael McIntyre.

Bishop had taken the money raised from the sale of the raffle tickets home with her and said she would pay it into the charity's funds, but on seven occasions she kept most of the money for herself.

Stephen Barnes, CEO of GroceryAid, described her actions as 'despicable' during a statement he made at Reading Crown Court.

Kirsty Allman, prosecuting, said: "This defendant volunteered for the Thames Valley branch of GroceryAid, where she was a trusted and respected volunteer, who did not get paid for her time, but on occasions was allowed to claim expenses.

"She had volunteered for 23 years, and was inducted into the GroceryAid hall of fame, recognising her 10 years service.

"At the beginning of 2017, Stephen Barnes was appointed as CEO, and began to focus in on each branch, to see where he could assist the volunteers. He became concerned at unexpected resistance he received from Amanda Bishop and Gordon Parris, the chairman at the time."

Bishop had previously been known as Amanda Rolfe, and had 15 previous convictions involving dishonesty and theft from an employer, the court heard.

In May 2018, Mr Barnes investigated and discovered accounts, which did not appear to be correct. He ordered a full review of all of the finances on July 3, at which point Bishop and Mr Parris both resigned.

The charity was forced to spend almost half a million pounds to conduct a full forensic investigation of their accounts, during which the extent of the theft came to light.

Bishop came to see Mr Barnes in person and made admissions that she had taken the money.

Investigators found she had been Googling 'do all fraud cases get prosecuted?' and 'does a charity have to report staff fraud?'.

Ms Allman added: "The defendant took that money home each year, purportedly to her home safe. It is very clear from the bank accounts that a far smaller amount of money was eventually banked."

The prosecutor also said Bishop had deposited a large number of cheques, either directly into her bank account or collected in cash, which together with the raffle tickets money totalled an estimated £844,619.

After being given a tip-off, the charity had researched Bishop in old newspaper clippings and found cuttings from May 1992, which revealed she was not of good character. One of the clippings claimed Bishop had set fire to her employers premises, after her fraud was exposed.

Mr Barnes said: "Amanda Bishop did everything she could to make life difficult for GroceryAid, with lies, avoidance tactics and blame of other parties. This came at a cost to the organisation.

"We will not allow the despicable actions of one individual to divert the charity further from its good work."

The charity supports people in need, including widows, widowers, and their dependent children in the groceries industry, had been impacted by the theft.

Bishop had spent money on trips to Spain, America and Canada, and had gone to watch Arsenal play in Madrid, while she was stealing from GroceryAid.

During her police interviews, Bishop had admitted taking a smaller amount of money, only later admitting before magistrates to fraud by abuse of position and seven counts of theft by an employee.

Defending, Ian Hope pointed to Bishop's two daughters sitting in the public gallery and said that she now realised the enormity of what she had done.

Judge Kirsty Real delivered a sentence of five years of immediate imprisonment, with half due to be served on licence.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Barnes said: “It was immensely disappointing to discover that Amanda Bishop, who held a trusted position as treasurer in one of our volunteer branches, engaged in a sophisticated and calculated deception to steal money from the charity.

“GroceryAid and the charity’s committed volunteers and supporters were heartbroken to have been the victims of her criminal abuse of trust.

“Judge Real said in her summing up that Amanda Bishop acted for her own personal gain, not just to make ends meet and her actions had saddened colleagues and staff at the charity.

“However, it is important to emphasise that despite her fraud and theft, no beneficiary has been disadvantaged and all eligible colleagues in need of our support will continued to receive it."