Eight held in Syria charity fraud inquiry

Eight people have been arrested by police investigating fraudulent use of funds from four UK-based charities.

The men were arrested after raids in Derby, Harlow in Essex, east and south-east London, and Dewsbury and Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.

Kent Police said it followed the seizure of euros, US dollars and pound sterling worth more than £45,000 at the Port of Dover in December 2012.

The charities are linked to Syrian aid charities.

'Cash checked'

Det Chief Supt Chris Hogben of Kent Police said the arrests were part of an ongoing investigation.

"Our investigation aims to ensure the funds given by the public reach their intended destination and are not used in connection with criminal activity," he said.

'We will continue to ensure any large quantities of cash being transported through Kent's ports is checked against its purpose."

Police seized 8,310 euros (£6,856), 10,700 US dollars (£6,412) and £31,816 on 23 December 2012 from a group of men leaving the country for the Middle East.

'Confidence in charities'

Mr Hogben said police and other agencies were working to ensure money intended to help people in need in Syria was not used for criminal activity or for terrorism.

"It is imperative that the public has confidence in the charities they support and in the money they are donating being used for the purpose it is intended.

'We advise the public to use the online register of charities on the Charity Commission website before donating, to check whether an organisation is a legitimate registered charity."

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