Poppy money thief is jailed

A Poppy Appeal fundraiser has been jailed for six months by Oxford Crown Court for stealing more than £6,000 of appeal money.

Father-of-one Mark Ellis, of Reynolds Way in East Challow, Oxfordshire, was sentenced on Monday after admitting 12 charges of theft from East and West Challow Royal British Legion. The money collected from churches, pubs, schools and shops had been transferred to a Nationwide Trust account between 2003 and July this year, when Ellis was arrested.

The conviction came the day after Remembrance Sunday and outraged war veterans. John Regan, field officer for Berkshire and Vale of the White Horse Royal British Legion, which covers the Challows, said: “It was a despicable act. We do not tolerate any misuse of funds, and it is vital the public’s money is used effectively.”

The 2007 Poppy Appeal closed last Sunday and it is hoped that it will raise £27.5m. A spokeswoman for the charity said it was early days but that early indications suggested the campaign had been a success.

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