A CHARITY worker who netted more than £5,000 from the sale of mobility scooters he had stolen from bereaved families has been spared jail.
Daniel Cameron, 40, of Earl Court, Sealand Road, was ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work when he was sentenced at Chester Crown Court yesterday.
He is also prohibited from having contact with his victims for a period of two years.
Mr Cameron pleaded guilty to eight charges of theft where, having set up his own business, he had sold unwanted scooters on behalf of the families but kept the money for himself.
He was working for mobility charity DICE in Ellesmere Port at the time and they gave him approval to set up the business on the basis it was not connected to them.
Judge Nicholas Woodward said: “You stole a number of invalid mobility scooters with a value in excess of £5,000.
“None have been recovered. The reality is you sold them and pocketed the proceeds.
“The fact is you were working for a registered charity. It was in that way you came into contact with the victims, who were elderly, disabled or bereaved.
“They wrongly thought you were acting on behalf of the charity. It’s clear to me that some papers have actively fostered that false belief.
“You traded on the good reputation of a charity and as a consequence that good reputation has been tarnished. This is a serious case of dishonesty.”
He added: “I accept it was intended to be a legitimate business. You ran into financial difficulty, acted out of character and took the opportunity to steal the money.”
Judge Woodward acknowledged that with Mr Cameron having eyesight difficulties he was having to contend with a ‘significant’ disability of his own.
Councillor Lynn Riley, area and community services portfolio holder for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said after sentencing: “The Trading Standards investigation has brought justice to a group of vulnerable, trusting people who were systematically preyed upon by the defendant.”
She added: “I am pleased that our Trading Standards Service has the expertise and will to expose such people. This case augurs well for the future, particularly as the new authority will be doing everything it can to forge stronger partnership links with other agencies, particularly the police.”