Walton-on-the-Naze: Man is jailed over charity shop fraud
A CHARITY shop owner has admitted fraudulently collecting money for the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance.
Nigel Philpott-Jones, proprietor of a Walton on the Naze shop, has pleaded guilty to fraud by false misrepresentation at the end of a four-year investigation.
Chelmsford Crown Court heard that despite advertising itself as raising much-needed funds for the service, which gets no direct government funding and needs �380,000 a month just to keep operating, no cash had ever been passed to the charity on from sales.
Philpott-Jones has been issued with a six-month custodial sentence and a serious crime prevention order for five years.
The investigation, which involved Essex Police, Essex Trading Standards and the Charity Commission, started back in 2008 when the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) became aware that the shop had opened using air ambulance branding.
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Speaking after yesterday’s hearing, Jane Gurney, CEO of EHAAT, said everyone at the charity was delighted that the investigation had reached a “satisfactory conclusion” and they wanted to thank everyone involved in the prosecution of the case.
She said: “Following what has been a long and difficult process, I am really pleased that we have ended up with the right result.
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“However, we are very sad that even though over the years many people have supported the shop in good faith, the charity has not benefited from their generosity.”
No funds, other than �5.92 found in one collection tin seized by Essex Police, have ever been received by EHAAT or the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA).