Bristol man jailed over children's cancer charity scam
Written by The Newsroom on June 5, 2019
A man has been jailed for a charity scam which netted £300,000 from bogus street collections.
Tyler Parton organised unlicensed collections across the west of England, the Midlands, and south Wales by claiming to be raising money for a children’s cancer charity.
The proceeds were split between Parton and his 90 street collectors.
The 32-year-old defendant admitted misleading the public and was jailed for five months at Bristol Crown Court.
When challenged by Bristol Trading Standards, Parton’s street collectors said they did not need a licence as they were selling a newspaper.
It was in fact a leaflet offering dietary advice linked to cancer – information widely available on the internet.
Buckets seized at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol found £5 notes and £2 coins inside, despite the leaflets being labelled as on sale for 50p.
The prosecution said vendors would shout “children’s cancer support” or “spare some change for a children’s charity”.
‘Traded on goodwill’
Trading Standards brought the case against Parton, from Shirehampton in Bristol, for offences dated between 2015 and 2018.
Investigators later found £155,000 in his bank account and he gave the remainder to the street collectors, the court heard.
Parton pleaded guilty to misleading action under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Act 2008.
His defence lawyer said he did not regard it as a fraudulent exercise, and that his motivation was genuine in that he wanted to make payments to charities and advise the public on diet and cancer.
The court heard one of Parton’s two children underwent tests for cancer but was given the all clear, prompting his interest in cancer and nutrition.
Judge Lambert accepted that Parton’s original motivation was genuine but said the operation went out of control and meant significant losses had been caused for genuine charities.
Jailing him, he added: “Good-natured people had been misled.”
Gerald Oppenheim from the Fundraising Regulator said Parton and his collectors had “traded on people’s goodwill”.
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Birmingham and Black Country