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A manipulative fraudster who pocketed commuter’s charity donations was jailed for 13 months on Monday.

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Roy Bardy, 48, set up a network of volunteers and pocketed money meant for good causes at Finsbury Park, Old Street and Angel Tube Stations – as well as other transport hubs around the country.

British Transport Police (BTP) got wind of the scam when commuters complained of suspicious behaviour from Bardy and his collectors.

An investigation was launched, and officers raided his rented office in Dagenham where they uncovered the scope of his fraudulent activities.

Bardy had approached various charities, including the Communion of True Vineyard Foundation – a Christian group promoting education, health and helping financial hardships – to offer his services as a collector.

Once he had gained their trust he approached Transport for London (TfL) to get authority for his collectors.

His duped volunteers, complete with official ID, and would then collect cash in good faith – but, instead of handing it over to the charities, Bardy admitted keeping some for himself.

At his home, police found fancy dress costumes and evidence of 81 collections .

Judge Henry Blacksell, sentencing at Blackfriars Crown Court, said: “You saw an opportunity to make money from charities which you manipulated to your advantage.

“You made multiple fraudulent, deceiving transactions over the years. It was a breach of trust and a representation which causes people to suffer.

“You are a manipulator, and a dishonest man.”

Det Con Mike Ganly, said: “This is a sad case that has seen commuters’ kind generosity and donations to charities unknowingly taken by Bardy and pocketed himself.

“He is a callous thief and his actions, diverting money away from charities which rely on donations to fund their good work, has resulted in those good causes suffering financial losses.”

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board who regulates UK fundraising, added: “Although any instances of charity fraud are incredibly rare, they are deeply concerning.

“Such acts not only deceive supporters and divert much-needed funds from good causes, but carry an even greater cost of damaging public trust and future charitable giving.”

“This has come at a time when genuine charities need the public’s donations now more than ever.”

Bardy, of Henshawe Road, Dagenham, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation.

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