Police hunt for conman who took charity donation

Kiran, Sam and Paul Merrick

Kiran, Sam and Paul Merrick

Four homes are burgled

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A CONMAN who walked away with a £100 donation to charity is being hunted by police.

The wanted man pretended to be collecting for local good cause Sam’s Haven.

But its founder Louise Merrick says he’s got nothing to do with the charity. She was alerted to the con by a woman who handed over almost £100.

Mrs Merrick, of Denmead, says the charity never has and never will door-knock to ask for money.

And she fears others may have fallen prey to the scam too.

‘I’m absolutely disgusted that anyone would do this,’ said Mrs Merrick, who was inspired by her son Sam, six, to buy a caravan in West Sussex for families to get much-needed respite.

‘I felt sorry for the lady who contacted us.

‘She wanted to know what was happening with the money but I had to explain that we have never collected door-to-door.

‘We all know that money is tight for a lot of people and we would never want to put anyone under pressure to donate.

‘She has handed over a lot of money to this man every couple of weeks.

‘It’s so upsetting as people give what little they do have and we all know that can be hard in today’s climate.

‘It puts people off donating again which affects many charities that all work so hard to do good.

‘The important thing is to raise awareness that this person is out there.’

The suspect is described as a man in his 20s.

Hampshire police would like to hear from anyone who knows anything about the case or who has been approached.

A spokesman said: ‘We advise people to always double-check whether unknown people who turn up at your door are who they say they are.’

Call police on 101. More information on how to protect yourself from doorstep crime can be found at http://www.hampshire.police.uk/internet.

Mrs Merrick’s son Sam spends a lot of time in hospital. Time relaxing at the holiday home is vital for the family. You can donate at samshaven.com.

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