TWO traders have slammed the actions of a conman who lied about his son's death to dupe money from innocent wellwishers.

Nicholas Slocombe, also known as Owen Fox Roswell, pleaded guilty to 28 counts of fraud at Shrewsbury Magistrates Court following a nationwide manhunt.

Slocombe, 28, from Shrewsbury, approached traders and townspeople in Oswestry and Ellesmere, pulling on people's heartstrings with his tale of a dead son who had died of leukemia, in whose memory he was running the London Marathon for charity.

On other occasions it was his daughter, or twins who he said had died.

Slocombe reportedly posed as a member of staff from a Wrexham newspaper, offering free advertising to businesses making a donation.

“He appeared so genuine that he must have been used to doing it,” said Sally Roberts, owner of the Bubblegum beauty salon on Oswestry's Leg Street.

“I am glad he's been caught. What annoys me most is that he said his son had died – that is really low, someone should never do that.

“It is mad how he managed to get away with it for so long.”

Slocombe was arrested on August 8 when he attended Shrewsbury Police Station.

He was wanted in connection with five offences in Oswestry and four in Ellesmere during March and April this year, as well as a total of 19 in Leominster and Staffordshire.

He is also being investigated by police forces in several other areas in connection with similar offences.

Tracey Austin-Pugh, owner of Leg Street's Hobo Florist in Oswestry, was also tricked by Slocombe.

She said: “It is so bad to have played on people's sympathy like that. I wasn't suspicious in the slightest.”

Both business owners said the experience could affect people representing charities in good faith and said they would think twice before making future donations. A date is yet to be set for Slocombe to be sentenced.