‘Charity’ fraud and drugs offences alleged as man, 39, arrested in raid on former Fenland public house

Alek Sire

Alek Sire - Credit: Archant

A man who rented an £800 month former Fenland pub- to set up shop selling furniture, games, toys, bric a brac, and second hand electrical goods- has been arrested on suspected fraud and drug offences.

Rose Project at Thorney Toll.

Rose Project at Thorney Toll. - Credit: Archant

Alek Sire – who had previously been known as Sir Alek Sire and also Sir Raphael Merlotte- will appear before Peterborough magistrates on October 18. He has been charged in the name of Sire having at some stage changed his name by deed poll.

Rose Project charity shop in Norfolk street Wisbech.

Rose Project charity shop in Norfolk street Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

The 39 year-old, formerly of Somersham, faces what police describe as “three linked charity frauds” and follows his arrest at the former Black Hart public house at Thorney Toll last Friday.

Police say they also discovered a large amount of cannabis at the premises and have charged Sire with possession with intent to supply Class B controlled drugs.

The victim in all three alleged frauds is Fenland District Council and the charges relate to claims – posted via YouTube and other social media- that the umbrella organisation he runs, the Rose Project, is a registered charity.

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Police are thought to have linked three separate addresses to the alleged fraud- the Black Hart, and addresses in Oldfield Lane and Norfolk Street, Wisbech.

Sire has previously run a launderette and health and well being centre in Station Road, March. This closed for a period this year but has recently been re-decorated.

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The Station Road premises host a website which refers to it as being a centre for the Templar Church “and dedicated lecture and open forum of the Knights Templar in the modern world, revealing the true magic performed”.

The website said that Knight’s Temple was “a diverse group of religious warriors in the United Kingdom. Our Order welcomes both men and women to explore their inner self and discover the lies of this world, fed to all with the help of leaders and in particular Governments.

“We are determined to complete the work of the Knights Templar by working toward unity, whilst demonstrating how scriptures have been ‘diluted’ over many centuries for the greed of a few. Knight’s Temple is dedicated to living by the code of Spiritual Warriors, a way of life that fears none and has pure focus in enlightenment for all.”

The Rose Project first appeared in Wisbech in May and at one time worked with the Wisbech food bank to hand out 263 items for local people in need. ‘Sir’ Alex Sire had described himself as chairman of the Rose Project.

The Rose Project itself is shown on Companies House records as being a limited company with Sire shown as managing director. Its recent incorporation means that no other accounting information is needed at this stage.

Sire said on a press release in July that he worked with 24 others in the Rose Project: recently he posted a longer, this time 14 minute, video to YouTube in which he appeared alongside one of his members. She spoke of alleged harassment after her parents had contacted both police and social services over the welfare of her child.

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