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Jammie Dodger dressed fraudster Paul Richardson jailed following Help for Heroes swindle
9:26am Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
A FRAUDSTER, who recruited two unsuspecting children in a scam to swindle racegoers into handing over cash for Help for Heroes, has been jailed.
Paul Richardson was found guilty at a trial earlier this month of holding a bogus bucket collection at Haydock Park last summer.
Dressed as a Jammie Dodger, he had persuaded the two teenagers to dress up in their army cadet uniforms and station themselves at certain points in the racecourse for two sessions.
They returned later that day to capitalise from a crowd watching the pop group Steps. However, despite raising £650, he kept the money for himself and hadn’t even registered with the charity to collect on their behalf.
The 53-year-old had mop buckets decorated with copies of Help for Heroes stickers, with his solicitor Andrew Stock describing his “endeavour” as “somewhat amateurish”.
The scam came to light, when the children’s grandfather, who believed it was a legitimate venture, raised objections because they hadn’t been paid.
Mr Stock said Richardson is currently facing the end of a 25-year-long marriage, adding: “There are issues with his communication skills and understanding of the position he finds himself in.”
Richardson, from Lincoln Drive in Ashton-in-Makerfield, had admitted collecting the money during a short trial at St Helens Magistrates’ Court earlier this month. However he claimed that he was going to hand the money over, despite registering with the charity only when his motives were questioned.
Looking visibly shocked as he was sentenced to four months, magistrates told him: “There are a number of factors that cause us concern.
“There was quite a large element of planning and it was relatively sophisticated. And the fact that you involved two children.
“The offence involved not just one but two sessions in a specific high traffic area where there were a high number of individuals.”
They stressed that such swindles have a direct effect on public perception.
Richardson was told he must serve at least half his sentence before he is released on licence.