Bogus charity collector hunted by police

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Police searching for a man wanted in connection with reports from dozens of shops and businesses about false claims of collecting for charity today renewed an appeal for the public’s help in finding him.

Officers from West Mercia Police believe Nicholas Slocombe (28) is travelling around the country and has recently been in the Lincolnshire area and before that may have been in the Newtown area of Powys, Mid Wales.

Mr Slocombe, who is also believed to use other names including Owen Roswell and Arron Renfry, was arrested in April on suspicion of more than 30 allegations of fraud by false representation across Shropshire and Herefordshire.

He was interviewed and released on police bail pending further inquiries. He failed to answer his bail in May and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

PC Steve Perry is heading the West Mercia Police investigation in conjunction with Cheshire and Staffordshire Police forces, where similar incidents have also taken place.

“We had reports from a large number of shops and businesses across Shropshire and Herefordshire in the early part of this year, saying they had been visited by a man claiming to be collecting for or gathering sponsorship for a run in aid of a leukaemia charity,” he said.

“Mr Slocombe was arrested on suspicion of these offences and has since failed to answer police bail.

“We have recently received information from Lincolnshire Police that similar incidents have reportedly taken place in the Bailgate area of Lincoln, only this time the person asking for money claims it is for injured troops in Afghanistan.

“Police also want to speak to Mr Slocombe in connection with these incidents and I urge anyone who might know of his whereabouts or who recognises his photo to contact West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000.”

PC Perry said Mr Slocombe was believed to travel extensively across the UK, usually using trains, and could potentially be anywhere.

He also urged any shop or business approached by persons asking for sponsorship or donations to make thorough checks before handing over any money.

“Always contact whichever charity they claim to be collecting on behalf of to check their credentials before handing over any money,” he added.