A thief who pretended to raise money for a young cancer patient pocketed hundreds of pounds for himself.
David Saville, 22, from Staffordshire, used official sponsorship forms to claim he was joining a sponsored 85 mile bike ride from Blackpool to Stoke-on-Trent to raise money for Caudwell Children Charity.
He said the proceeds would go towards helping five-year-old Ruby Owen, a local girl who needed to go to America for treatment for a brain tumour. Ruby had specialist radiotherapy treatment in America in 2010, and needed to go back for more after her cancer returned in February this year.
Saville also claimed he was raising money for Help for Heroes.
But he was caught after two of his victims became suspicious, and arrested after police raided his home and found a list of people who had given him cash.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation and was given a two-year community order with supervision, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to repay £237, which is to be split between Caudwell Children and Help for Heroes.
District judge David Taylor, at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court, said: "Right-thinking members of the public would consider your behaviour disgraceful.
"The sums of money are not small nor vast, but it is the harm done to people's feelings. People trusted you and held you in good faith."
Prosecutor Don Knapper said: "The defendant gave a statement amounting to a full confession. He said that he had been suffering depression and was taking medication. It was brought on by him being unable to find employment."
Rachel Mason, mitigating, described Saville as 'a very troubled young man' who had been rejected by his parents and raised by his grandfather. Saville's grandfather is believed to be using cash he was saving to buy his grandson driving lessons to pay the £237 to the charities.
Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, commented, saying: "Unfortunately, those who abuse the public's trust also affect future fund-raising as those affected are less likely to donate when asked by genuine fund-raisers."
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