An investigation by a regional daily has led to a businessman admitting fraud for claiming to have been a Royal Navy captain and Falklands War veteran.
The Hull Daily Mail published a story last November exposing businessman Stuart Elliott, who is managing director of a local firm, after an investigation by the paper.
Its story included photos of him posing in a full Navy uniform with a chestful of medals and led to Humberside Police launching a joint investigation with Ministry of Defence police.
Now Mr Elliott has admitted fraud after the eight-month investigation and he has been formally cautioned after the Crown Prosecution Services said there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.
The Mail’s investigation came about when it received a tip-off from a member of the public who made the allegation that he had been posing as an officer in the Royal Navy.
Journalist Kevin Shoesmith, who is now the paper’s chief reporter, uncovered a wealth of information, photographs and statements which eventually proved beyond doubt that Mr Elliott had been regularly posing as a decorated Royal Navy officer and Falklands War veteran.
After the paper published its initial expose in November, Kevin’s information was passed to the police to investigate.
News editor Rick Lyon said: “Chief reporter Kevin Shoesmith received a tip-off from an anonymous source about Elliott falsely claiming to have been a Royal Navy captain.
“Kevin spent weeks investigating the claims, determined to uncover the truth. He made numerous attempts to speak to Elliott, who refused every time.
“Undeterred, Kevin gathered the evidence for the Mail to be able to able to expose Elliott as the fraud he is. It was a fantastic piece of investigative journalism.”
The Mail’s investigation uncovered a photo of Mr Elliott shaking hands with a real Second World War seaman on Remembrance Day with his medals and ribbons displayed in the wrong order.
He wore the South Atlantic Medal with additional rosette, which was only presented to Falklands veterans who completed one days’ service or more between 2 April and 14 June 1982.
But a photograph printed in the Mail at the time of the conflict showed Mr Elliott was in fact a third engineer on the tug boat, Irishman, sent to “mop-up” three weeks after the Argentines surrendered.
Police said Mr Elliott’s caution for fraud related to making a false declaration to obtain a driving licence.
The Mail reports that he is understood to have falsely stated he was a naval captain in paperwork applying for his driving licence back after a drink-driving conviction.
Mr Elliott, who is managing director of gas turbine maintenance firm TC Power Limited, has now issued a statement through his solicitor apologising to veterans for any offence or upset caused.