Fraud warning after Bradley’s name used in Houghton con

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A CONMAN who tricked a pensioner out of cash claiming it was for a toddler who is fighting a rare form of cancer has been slammed.

The scam artist called at a Houghton house stating they were collecting on behalf of Bradley Lowery’s Fight Against Neuroblastoma.

The two-year-old from Blackhall has captured the hearts of fund-raisers across Wearside and East Durham, who have backed his family’s campaign to raise £500,000 to send him to America for treatment if it is needed.

Bradley’s mum Gemma has said: “This is disgusting that people can play on the vulnerability of old people with such an important cause.”

She added she has not given anyone permission to collect at doors or written a letter it is said the man has shown to his victims.

Police say the fraudster knocked on the door of a house in Houghton and asked an 84-year-old woman for cash to help a sick child on two occasions.

On his second visit he showed the woman a fake letter from the charity and she handed over a total of £60.

Chief Inspector Jerry Pearson, from Sunderland Area Command, said: “These types of crime are particularly callous as they play on people’s generosity and also cause upset to the genuine charity.

“We are making inquiries into this incident and it may be the man has knocked on the door of other houses in the area, if so we want to hear from residents as they may be able to help identify who he is.

“Genuine charity collectors always carry identification which clearly states they are authorised to collect funds on behalf of the named charity.

“If you are not sure simply refuse to part with cash on your doorstep.

“These people tend to prey on vulnerable and elderly people and we’d urge anyone with vulnerable and elderly family or friends to make sure they are aware of this advice. “

The man is described as approximately 5ft 5in tall, with dark hair, slim and well dressed.

The bogus caller struck between 11am on Monday, December 2, and 11am on Friday, December 6.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.