A fraudster who set up fake charity collection bins across the area and pocketed the cash after selling donated clothing has been jailed.
Daniel McAllister, of Charlesworth Street, Bolsover, denied the offences, dating between 2011 and 2013, but was found guilty of fraud by false representation by a jury at Derby Crown Court.
The 54-year-old placed posters on his collection bins asking for help for ‘widows and orphans of our fallen heroes’ and claimed they were from a registered charity.
The large bins – which were red with yellow stickers on them – were designed to replicate ones run by legitimate charities such as Help For Heroes, using photos of armed forces personnel and the Union Flag to reinforce the image.
More than 40 collection points were placed at locations in Notts, Bolsover, South Yorkshire and Amber Valley.
But instead of using donated clothing for charitable purposes, McAllister took them to a recycling company, sold them and kept the proceeds.
Derby Crown Court heard he was making more than £90,000 a year from his business – DMAC Recycling Derbyshire – although it is not known how much of that sum was earned through his scam.
The case was brought to court after protracted investigation work by DCs Catherine Meggitt and Michael Wallis.
Detective Inspector John Roddis, organised crime group manager, said: “This was a heinous offence co-ordinated by the head of an organised crime group.“
“As the judge said in the case, McAllister’s offending has undermined public confidence in giving to legitimate charities.”
“I would urge people to continue supporting those legitimate charities and to double check that the bins they are donating clothes to are registered to proper organisations.”
McAllister was sentenced to 12 months in jail.