Date Published 14 August 2013
An estate agent has played a key role in bringing a charity conman to justice.
Harold Davies, 48, was working in Taylors Estate Agents in the Headington area of Oxford when a man came in claiming to be collecting money for cancer charities.
David Solomon targeted several other businesses in the area, saying that he was collecting for a cancer charity, Cancer Relations, after the death of his father and the serious illness of his brother. He claimed he was going to do a walk in aid of the charity. He also claimed to be collecting for two other cancer charities.
Staff at Taylors handed over a donation but Mr Davies asked to photocopy the supposed charity collector’s sponsorship form and discovered that neither Cancer Relations nor the charity number existed.
Mr Davies then alerted police and the main boards of the two other charities, and went out on to the street to challenge Solomon.
`I made him go back to the local businesses he had conned and repay the money,` said Davies. `It certainly wasn’t heroic, but I just felt that what he had done was completely wrong.`
Police quickly investigated and Solomon has now been found guilty in Oxford Magistrates Court, despite protesting his innocence. He had told police he was collecting for Cancer Research UK and would also be collecting for Macmillan, but neither charity knew of his activities.
He was found guilty of three counts of fraud by false representation.
Judge Tim Pattinson was told he had committed similar scams, claiming he was raising money for the British Heart Foundation. He had also stolen £120 from an 83-year-old woman’s purse at her home in Swindon after he told her he was collecting for the BHF.
Solomon has been warned to expect prison when he is sentenced next month.
Mr Davies, who is now branch manager for Andrews in Headington, Oxford, said: `He deserves everything he gets for playing the system instead of owning up and saying sorry.`