Exmouth man 'duped' people using charity-style collection bucket

PUBLISHED: 13:12 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:46 07 February 2019

Exeter magistrates court.

Exeter magistrates court.

Archant

Mitchell McShaw was found guilty of fraud by false representation at Exeter Magistrates Court on Wednesday (February 6).

An Exmouth man who used a charity-style collection bucket to peddle his joke magazines ‘duped’ people out of money, a court has ruled.

At Exeter Magistrates Court on Wednesday (February 6) Mitchell McShaw was found guilty on five counts of fraud by false representation between December 18, 2017, and January 13, 2018.

The court heard how McShaw ignored police advice not to use a sealed bucket, similar to those used by charity collectors, to store money made from selling a joke magazine.

Prosecution told the court the 29-year-old ‘duped’ members of the public, who believed he was a charity collector, out of their money.

In delivering the guilty verdict, chair magistrate Elisabeth Piecha said: “We believe that you dishonestly collected money by misrepresenting yourself as a charity collector by using the bucket and false identification.

“The bucket is something most people would recognise as being used by charity collectors.

“You were very aware that you needed to be open and honest with the public.”

The court heard how on five occasions, McShaw was seen in Exeter’s city centre appearing to sell ‘periodical’ joke magazines using a sealed bucket with a false ID lanyard – which said his name was ‘Mitchell James’ with no recognisable photo - while carrying leaflets.

On December 18, 2018, the court heard how the 29-year-old asked an off-duty police officer if he had any change before following it up with ‘for the Make-a-Wish Foundation’.

McShaw suggested to the court that the police officer misheard him and claims he did not say the money was for charity.

Three days later, McShaw, of Madeira Road, was seen wearing a ‘news vendor’ t-shirt selling periodical ‘joke magazines’ for 50p each and was advised not to use the bucket.

McShaw again asked an off-duty police officer for some change on January 5, and the court heard that on this occasion he ‘shook’ the bucket.

On January 13, following a confrontation with another police officer, his bucket – containing more than £100 – was seized along with his leaflets, lanyard and a rucksack containing the ‘news vendor’ t-shirt.

McShaw told the court that he needed the bucket as a secure way of storing his takings from selling ‘make a smile’ magazines. He also said that there was a printing error with his ID.

McShaw is set to be sentenced at Exeter Magistrates Court on Monday (February 11).

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