Liam Kissane Dressed as RM Commando
A shameless conman who dressed as a Royal Marine commando to fleece generous members of the public in a cynical charity scam has been jailed for more than two years.
Loner Liam Kissane, 28, developed a fixation for masquerading as a member of the armed forces because it was an easy way to make money, and it earned him respect that he would never otherwise have had.
Kissane, who has served previous prison sentences for the same thing, was caught out when police officers were tipped off about his activities in Ashton town centre, by a man who was suspicious about him.
Pensioner Ian Smith spotted one flaw in the trickster's disguise - the fact that he was not wearing military issue boots.
Outside court, Mr Smith said: "No sentence would have been enough for him. People in Ashton under Lyne, and lads wearing the genuine Queen's uniform would all have wanted to see him put away for longer."
Jailing him at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court, Judge Jonathan Geake told him: "You are a manipulative, deceitful and devious criminal.
"This was a mean, cynical and elaborate fraud committed by you, and people like you have to be deterred.
"Members of the public who are prepared to give to decent charities should be protected."
Kissane, of no fixed abode, who dressed immaculately in full Royal Marine uniform including beret, had downloaded military logos from the internet to make a DIY Royal Marines warrant card and military travel pass, and introduced himself as Sergeant Kissane.
He toured pubs and shopping centres with charity boxes and wristbands, making hundreds of pounds for himself.
When arrested, Kissane, whose father had been in the Army, had £345.03p in his rucksack, but the court was told there was no knowing how much he had actually made from his heartless con, and how much had been spent on himself.
Kissane was insistent that he had intended to pass cash he had collected to the Help for Heroes charity.
He even told one bar manager he persuaded to take one of his tins that he had just returned from service in Afghanistan, and hoped to make extra money to help children of servicemen out there.
Judge Geake told him however: "It is very clear from the evidence that this was yet another scam being tried by him as a way of making money for himself."
He told Kissane that he accepted he had long-standing psychological problems and felt a compulsion to wear military uniform.
But he added: "No doubt it gave you some respect from the general public and you felt more comfortable in that skin, but you cannot justify committing that kind of fraud, and it is not the first time you have done it."
The court was told that under his real name of Graham Eckerman, he was jailed in 2004 after posing as a Royal Marine who had been awarded the Victoria Cross, in order to con members of the public in Scotland.
He also carried out a £984 fraud with a stolen bank card and was jailed for six months after pretending to be a Royal Marine and demanding free rail travel.
Eckerman who later changed his name to Liam Kissane after a fictional Army hero in a novel by author Matthew Reilly, had had little stability in his life, and moved around the country, never staying in one place for any length of time.
The court was told that on release from his last prison sentence just a month before his arrest, he had severed all ties in the London area where he had previously lived, and moved north to try his luck in Greater Manchester.
Mark Fireman defending, said his client was not a stupid man, and now wanted to do his best to "grapple" with his condition. Kissane who pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, possessing false identification documents, and making art for use in fraud, has been jailed for a total of 27 months.
Following the case, Det Sgt Claire Platt, said: "It is hard to think how someone would sink as low as this to earn a quick buck. Kissane took full advantage of the goodwill of people who thought they were supporting a worthy cause.
"I would like to praise the vigilant members of the public who
raised the alarm. This case illustrates how important it is for us to
maintain one of the most important commitments of our Policing Pledge;
to have officers visibly patrolling their areas 80 per cent of the