Charity cheat David Saville took money donated to Kidsgrove child Ruby Owen
CHARITY cheat David Saville pocketed hundreds of pounds pledged by well-wishers after pretending he was taking part in a sponsored bike ride for a young cancer patient.
Saville swindled £237 from dozens of victims who thought they were donating cash for Ruby Owen.
The 22-year-old used official sponsorship forms to claim he was joining a sponsored bike ride from Blackpool to Stoke-on-Trent, organised by the Caudwell Children charity.
The proceeds, he told around 50 people, would go to help five-year-old Ruby, of Kidsgrove, who recently returned from the U.S. where she received treatment for a brain tumour.
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Saville also told people he was raising funds for Help for Heroes.
But the unemployed cheat was arrested after two of his victims became suspicious.
Officers raided his home in Spragg House Lane, Norton, and found a list of people who had handed over cash. Now Saville has been condemned by a judge, who called his crimes 'despicable.'
District judge David Taylor, at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court, told him: "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."
Saville pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud by false representation.
Prosecutor Don Knapper said the donations were collected between April 2010 and December last year.
Saville was arrested after a barber in Stockton Brook and a man who recognised Saville from their schooldays became suspicious.
Mr 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, said Saville was 'a very troubled young man'. She said he had been rejected by his parents and raised by his grandfather, who served in the Army, but problems at home led to his grandmother attempting to kick him out.
Miss Mason added that Saville's grandfather had been saving to buy his grandson driving lessons, but will instead use the cash to reimburse the two charities.
Saville 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.
Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, said: "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."