1. ITV Report

£1 fine for serial fraudster who stole Poppy Appeal cash

Claire Kierczek pretended to be a Royal British Legion representative. Photo: Paul Beard

A serial fraudster who pretended to be a Royal British Legion representative to swipe Poppy Appeal cash has been fined just £1.

Heroin addict Claire Kierczek swapped empty collection tins for full ones at an Asda store in Coventry last November.

But she has avoided jail after being convicted of two counts of fraud, instead being given a 12 month suspended sentence.

People who give to charities in boxes in shops often give small amounts because that is all they can afford to give. It is often those small amounts that make big differences to charities. People who steal from charities in this way undermine confidence in them.

– Recorder Christopher Donnellan QC
Kierczek also took an Air Ambulance collection tin containing around £50. Credit: PA

Kierczek was also fined just £1 at Warwick Crown Court for breaking the terms of a previous, two-month suspended sentence.

Warwick Crown Court heard the 32-year-old used fake British Legion ID to dupe staff at an Asda branch in Coventry into allowing her to leave with two tins.

One was a Poppy Appeal jar which contained around £200.

Kierczek, of Netherton, Dudley, pulled the same stunt again before she was arrested, taking an Air Ambulance collection tin containing around £50 from a trophy store, also in Coventry.

The judge added:

You have done it and you have done it before. You do it brazenly, and carry around empty boxes in order to steal full ones.

I am satisfied it crosses the custody threshold, but I will suspend it.

This is your last chance, and I hope you take it.

– Recorder Christopher Donnellan QC