Man admits stealing more than £200,000 from charity collections

Harris Polak, who organised cash collections in supermarkets for three small charities, pleads guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to fraud by abuse of position

Liverpool Crown Court
Liverpool Crown Court

A man who organised cash collections on behalf of three small charities in northern England has admitted pocketing at least £213,000 of the money.

Harris Polak, 53, of Childwall Park Avenue, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday.

He organised supermarket collections between 2007 and 2011 for Cancer Relief UK, Cerebral Palsy Care for Children and Clatterbridge Cancer Research, which has since merged with North West Cancer Research.

Polak will be sentenced on 1 July.

Steve Coupe, founder of Cancer Relief UK, said Polak organised teams of cash collectors for the charity outside supermarkets around the M62 corridor, which connects Liverpool and Leeds, for a couple of years from 2009.

He said donations received from collections organised by Polak were low but the charity did not think anything untoward was going on.

"We had no idea it was happening until the police contacted us. We were getting some money but things were tough and we were a new charity," he said. "We were astounded how much he was collecting."

He said the teams collecting the money did not know about Polak’s fraudulent activities.

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