A Burnley plumber who has made national headlines for providing free plumbing services to people in need has admitted to fabricating some of his stories.

James Anderson is the founder of Depher, a plumbing and heating repair community interest company that is known for helping people on low incomes by either subsidising repair costs or doing the work for free.

Mr Anderson admitted to a national news outlet he used people’s photos without consent, used Depher funds to purchase a car, and also claimed he had prevented an elderly woman from taking her own life when in fact she had died years earlier.

For the past five years, Depher has posted hundreds of stories on social media about the work it has done and the acts of kindness displayed towards the people it helped.

The community interest company, located in Keirby Walk in the town centre, has helped many people by fundraising to pay for gas and electricity as well as plumbing work.

Mr Anderson became a viral hit as a result of the work, appearing on numerous breakfast TV shows, and even had celebrity donors in singer Lily Allen, Emmerdale actress Samantha Giles, and actor Hugh Grant.

He has also received a Pride of Britain award and letters of thanks from the Royal Family.

Multiple examples of Depher recycling the same photos in misleading and false posts, including several using the same image of a dead woman have been reported.

It was also found Depher funds were used to purchase a house and a car, and that it posted video and images of a vulnerable man in his 90s in fundraising posts more than 20 times.

The main Depher CIC social media account, which had more than 100,000 followers, has since been deleted.

In August last year, the charity set up a fundraiser to support vulnerable people over winter, ensuring they can afford energy bills and food.

In March, a further GoFundMe page was created titled ‘Depher General Use (Running Costs) Funding and has gained more than £3,500 in donations.

James Anderson denied some of the allegations against him and his CIC, but admitted "making some mistakes" and said he "knows I have done wrong and I apologise".

He also conceded he had exaggerated the number of people Depher has helped, and some of his fundraising had been misleading and he would return some money donated, adding he hopes to "make amends".