A young police officer has been commended for tracing all 67 victims across the world including the UK, Europe, and North America of a Peterborough fraudster.
He was among police officers and staff singled out for going above and beyond in their service and dedication for communities across Cambridgeshire.
They were recognised at the Chief Superintendent’s Commendations yesterday afternoon (6 September) held at police headquarters in Huntingdon, to celebrate their commitment, professionalism and often, life-saving actions.
PC Sam Dane launched a serious fraud investigation after a woman set up a PayPal account falsely claiming to be raising funds for the Australian bush fires victims.
Through his hard work, PC Dane discovered more than £34,000 had been raised, and he traced all 67 victims.
Fraudster Kerry Palin, 27, who was living in Peterborough at the time of the fires in 2000, donated just $20 (£10) to charity and spent the rest on luxury items for herself, including new hair extensions and a treadmill.
But despite having very little investigations experience to that level, PC Dane showed dogged determination and commitment to the case and was commended for “performing a level far beyond his experience”.
Palin pleaded guilty at Peterborough Crown Court last month and she was sentenced to 16 months in prison and her partner, David Collins, was given a conditional discharge after he pleaded guilty to acquiring criminal property.
PC Dane said: “This was an appalling case of fraud where Palin not only deceived generous, kind-natured individuals, but deprived the wildlife victims of the wildfires of thousands of pounds in donations, which would have made a huge difference to their lives.
“Instead of helping the desperate victims of these horrific events, the money was spent on frivolous and unnecessary luxuries.
“I hope this goes to show how seriously we take these offences, and I am glad justice has been done.
“I would urge anyone wanting to donate money to good causes online to be vigilant and, if in doubt, consider giving directly to the charity itself.”
Chief Superintendent Jon Hutchinson, who presented the awards, said: “It was wonderful to celebrate the outstanding achievements of so many officers and staff. I feel privileged to work alongside them all.
“It was also an honour to invite the family and friends of our award winners. We often talk about the “policing family”, which firmly extends to those loved ones who support us in what can often be a challenging profession.
“I’m sure that everyone who attended the event left the room feeling extremely proud not just of their own achievements, but of all the outstanding work that we have delivered for those that live in, work in, or visit Cambridgeshire. I can’t wait for the next ceremony.”
CambsNews will feature other award winners in coming days
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