Man pleads guilty to stealing £300,000 intended for Help for Heroes

Christopher Copeland posed as a volunteer fundraiser for the armed forces charity

Christopher Copeland
Christopher Copeland

A man who posed as a volunteer fundraiser for Help for Heroes has pleaded guilty to stealing £300,000 intended for the forces charity.

Christopher Copeland, who had previously carried out legitimate volunteer fundraising for the charity, entered guilty pleas at Exeter Crown Court yesterday to one count of fraud and one of concealing criminal property.

Last year, he faced a total of 15 fraud charges in the magistrates' court, which he denied, and was alleged to have stolen £560,000 in all.

The Press Association news agency reported that Copeland’s solicitor told the court that Copeland and his family had been attacked at home since the allegations came to light, and that the police had had to fit an alarm in his property.

Jo Brookes, an income protection officer at Help for Heroes, said: "We’re appalled that Chris Copeland exploited the goodwill of so many people towards our wounded men and women in such a calculated, devious way.

"The money he stole never reached us, or the thousands of heroes we support, because he used organised, criminal tactics to intercept it. Help for Heroes is grateful to our local fundraiser who first spotted what Copeland was doing, and to the police and the courts who have made sure he didn’t get away with it."

Copeland is due to be sentenced on 15 September and has been warned by the judge to expect a lengthy jail term.

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