Suspected charity con artist prompts online backlash

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A SUSPECTED cheat using three children in an effort to con charitable Shoreham residents out of their cash has prompted outrage over social media.

Last Wednesday, Sussex Police revealed the force had received a number of reports from residents in Southwick and Shoreham who claimed to have been contacted on their doorsteps and asked for money.

In each case, the person visiting had been a woman and had up to three children with her. One of the children has knocked on the door and told the resident they are collecting for charity.

However, the charity named by the callers has changed - on some occasions the RSPCA has been named and on others it has been local schools – so police believe the collectors to be taking money for themselves.

PC Laura Mitchell said: “The woman appears to be using the children to get money for her from kind-hearted members of the community.

“Thankfully, it does not appear that any resident has handed over any large amounts of money but we need to find the people involved in case more people fall victim to her.

“We need to speak to anyone who has been visited by the woman and children over the last few weeks so we can piece together exactly where she has been and how much she could have collected.

“If you have any idea who she is or where she could be, please contact us”

The news has since sparked fury by locals on the Herald’s Facebook page.

Gemma Lovegood wrote: “This is completely disgraceful. I can’t believe how anyone would do such a thing.

“Those poor children being dragged into all this is the worst thing. I’m just shocked by this so, so much.

“I hope the police catch her soon.”

Likewise, Amanda Brogan was equally annoyed and vented her frustration over the Herald’s Facebook page, branding the suspect as the ‘scum of the earth’ and ‘disgusting’.

PC Mitchell is now urging residents to check callers’ identities before they consider handing any money over.

“Official charity collectors will have ID and will be willing to show you it so do not be ashamed about asking to see it,” she added.

Anyone with information should email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting serial 905 of 01/07, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.