A FRAUDULENT charity worker has been slammed for stealing a collection tin full of cash and replacing it with an old empty one.

Havens Hospice is urging the public to remain vigilant after reports of the man posing as a fundraiser for the charity.

The man is claiming to work for Havens Hospices which incorporates Little Havens Hospice, Fair Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice.

He has targeted one supporter in Rayleigh High Street – having picked up a full tin, with money destined to help children, young people and adults with life-limiting illnesses, and replaced it with an empty one.

Judy Grocott, events manager for Havens Hospices received the call and reported the issue to Essex Police.

A fundraising push is underway as the charity looks to raise the final funds for the new £17 million Fair Havens Hospice.

The man is aged in his mid-30s, tall, with long ginger hair and was wearing a sweatshirt with a logo on it Mrs Grocott said: “We were informed by the shop manager in Rayleigh that they have been targeted by a fraudster.

“It appears that the man has sourced an old collection tin and tricked them into swapping their full tin for an empty one.

“But our supporter realised that the man didn’t show them formal identification and noticed that the seal was broken on the tin; so contacted Havens Hospices to raise their concern.

“We have raised this matter with the police and urge our supporters to be vigilant. Our fundraisers always wear formal identification and the tins will always be sealed.

“So if you are approached by someone claiming to be a fundraiser for Havens who does not have ID or the tin they try to give you has a broken seal, please report it to us or the Ppolice as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “It was a reported a man has stolen a charity box from a shop in Rayleigh High Street.

“The man, who is described as in his mid-30s, tall, with long ginger hair, and wearing a sweatshirt with a logo on it, is reported to have swapped the box for another one.

“If you saw or heard anything, have any CCTV or dash cam footage, or have any other information please call us on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/55625/19.”

The new Fair Havens is expected to be completed in February 2020.