Britain's "kindest plumber" faked heartwarming stories

James Anderson was hailed as "Britain's kindest plumber" after posting hundreds of stories about his caring and wholesome activities. All fake, reports the BBC. And a grift: he structured his business as a social enteprise and used its funds for personal expenses. Even an old lady whose life he saved turned out to have been dead for years: he'd stolen her photo.

The social media stories made him a viral sensation during the UK's cost-of-living crisis and brought in at least £2m in donations, according to a BBC analysis of his company accounts.

Among the donors were, reportedly, celebrities such as the singer Lily Allen, Emmerdale actress Samantha Giles and actor Hugh Grant, who gave £75,000.

Mr Anderson has received letters of thanks from the late Queen and the King and a Pride of Manchester award. He has been a guest on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, The One Show, Sky News and the Russell Howard Show, and described as "Britain's kindest plumber" or a "hero plumber".

Someone noticed he recycled old photos for new stories and the BBC turned over the rest, including this gem:

Depher posted video and images of a vulnerable man in his 90s in fundraising posts more than 20 times, publicising information about his sexuality, despite the man pleading "God no" when asked if he would agree to be filmed

The BBC picked a good photo of him for its composite, used above. He can do that facial expression which has become a kind of British Dreamworks face: once you know about it you'll see it everywhere. Sad but determined, anxious yet implacable, with perhaps a hint of cold belligerence justified by the injustices of the system. It says "This hobbit gonna fuck you up." Below, a set of 10 from the brilliant recent docudrama about the U.K. Post Office's "computer says go to jail" scandal. But today's main character, of course, turned out to be a baddie.