Essex Air Ambulance happy as fraudulent charity shop closed

Essex Air Ambulance happy as fraudulent charity shop closed 13 Nov, 12, Source: Essex Air Ambulance

After four years of investigations into a Charity Shop in Walton-on-the-Naze; Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust (EHAAT) is delighted to confirm the closure of the Charity Shop and that the proprietor Nigel Philpott-Jones has pleaded guilty of fraud by false misrepresentation. His official sentencing has taken place today at Chelmsford Crown Court and Mr Philpott-Jones has been issued with a 6 month custodial sentence and a Serious Crime Prevention Order for 5 years. After ongoing investigations culminating in today’s court case EHAAT is delighted to have reached a satisfactory conclusion.

The investigation, which involved Essex Police, Trading Standards and the Charity Commission started back in 2008 when the Charity became aware that the shop had opened using Air Ambulance branding. No funds, other than £5.92 from one collection tin seized by Essex Police, have ever been received by EHAAT or the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA). The AAA have also worked closely with EHAAT to ensure the matter was successfully brought to a conclusion.

Jane Gurney, CEO of Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust, said: “Following what has been a long and difficult process, I am really pleased that we have ended up with the right result. However, we are very sad that even though over the years many people have supported the shop in good faith, the Charity has not benefitted from their generosity. Myself and the team worked tirelessly with Trading Standards and Essex Police to bring this to a close as quickly as we could. I would like to personally thank on behalf of the Trust; Essex Police, Trading Standards and the Crown Prosecution Service for their hard work in driving this to a successful conclusion.”

It costs in the region of £380,000 every month to cover all charitable costs and aircraft operations for both Essex and Herts Air Ambulances. EHAAT receives no direct government fundng and relies on the generosity and support of the people and busineses of Essex and Hertfordshire to remain operational.

The Charity’s ‘official’ shops in Burnham-on-Crouch, Leigh-on-Sea, Brightlingsea and West Mersea have raised over £400,000 over the years…an amazing amount of money. We would like to thank everybody across the counties who continue to support us enabling our life-saving aircraft to keep flying and saving lives.

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