A Burnley plumber has had his British Citizen Award rescinded after revelations that he ‘faked’ stories of helping people.

James Anderson, who founded Depher, was presented the award in 2023 for his work providing boilers and plumbing services for free.

On Thursday, a BBC investigation found that Mr Anderson's firm, Depher, a social enterprise, 'faked' stories of helping people as it raised millions in donations.

A spokesperson from the British Citizen Awards told the BBC: "We pride ourselves in recognising individuals across the UK who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on their communities and charities."

Mr Anderson admitted 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.

The Charity Commission has said it refused three applications from Depher CIC to become a charity.

The Fundraising Regulator has also told the BBC it has opened an investigation into Depher CIC to “determine whether or not its fundraising has breached sections of the Code of Fundraising Practice”.

Mr Anderson became a viral hit as a result of the work, appearing on numerous breakfast TV shows, and even had celebrity donors. He has also received a Pride of Manchester award and letters of thanks from the Royal Family.

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

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".