A MAN who told people he was going on long-distance runs for Children In Need spent his sponsorship money on drugs, a court heard yesterday.

Colin James Chapman knocked on doors in his home town of Stockton, Teesside, last September, telling people he was taking part in charity runs and asking them to sponsor him.

He told some householders he was running from Stockton to Darlington, and others that he was tackling a route from Stockton to Middlesbrough.

But he was jailed yesterday after Teesside Crown Court heard how he never took part in any such runs, and instead spent the £36.50 he collected on drugs.

Shabbir Merali, prosecuting, said one suspicious sponsor contacted police and 23-year-old Chapman, who initially gave officers a false name, date of birth and address, was arrested.

Chapman, of Holmside Walk, Stockton, eventually admitted ten charges of obtaining property by deception and three of attempting to obtain property by deception.

Mr Merali said: "He took advantage of the goodwill of members of the public, purporting to collect money for a national charity when, in fact, the money was for personal gain."

In mitigation, Nigel Soppitt said Chapman was "deeply ashamed" of what he had done.

"Regrettably, the money was spent on drugs. He is genuinely sorry and knows he has committed a shameful act," he said.

Mr Soppitt said Chapman had also tried to make amends by taking part in a genuine cycle ride, which raised £87 for the Asian tsunami disaster appeal.

Jailing Chapman for a total of 12 months, Judge George Moorhouse told him: "Although the people concerned only gave you relatively small sums of money, it was a very mean and cruel offence to commit.

"It is my duty to ensure that members of the public are protected from people like you."