A FORMER treasurer at Amblecote Christian Centre made a brief appearance in court this morning (Friday) after being charged with defrauding the church and a religious charity to the tune of more than £500,000.

Stephen Methuen appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court charged with six counts of false accounting, allegedly committed to disguise the embezzlement of more than £400,000 between 2003 and 2009, while he was treasurer at the church in Brettell Lane, Amblecote.

Methuen, from Smalman Close, Wordsley, has also been charged with five offences of cheating the revenue by submitting over-inflated gift aid repayment claims on behalf of the charity which he allegedly went on to embezzle.

The 56-year-old has also been charged with a further six counts of false accounting committed between 2003 and 2009 while he was treasurer of the Christian International Relief Mission.

He is alleged to have embezzled £117,957.16.

The case was committed to Wolverhampton Crown Court and Methuen, who was granted unconditional bail, is due to appear on Friday May 25.