A conman who fleeced a 92-year-old kind-hearted parishioner out of £27,000 after posing as a down-and-out has been jailed.
Scott Thomas Hanson, 35, was approached inside a Cockermouth church out of concern by the devout worshipper last August.
After being told that "depressed" Hanson that he had walked out on his wife and been "on the road" for three days, the OAP gave him a train fare and passed on his phone number.
But Carlisle Crown Court heard there was then almost daily contact by Hanson, who duped the pensioner into handing over £27,000 between August and October. This was transferred into the accounts of two females Hanson had also misled.
When the victim revealed banks were raising concerns about suspicious transactions, Hanson responded by saying: "If you call the police I will kill you." So fed up was the elderly man with the phone contact, he said on one occasion: "Cut to the chase, Scott. How much do you want now?"
He later told police who brought Hanson to justice: "I prioritised my Christian duty to help others over this this, and for this I have been taken advantage of by Scott."
Hanson, of Tempest Road, Hartlepool, admitted fraud and was said to have a host of previous dishonesty convictions on his criminal record. The court heard he had been a regular visitor to a bookmakers in his home town during the period of his latest offending, and had splashed out more than £24,000 on gambling, winning £17,000.
Hanson was jailed for 30 months. "You committed a mean offence when you gained the trust of a 92-year-old man who took pity on you," Judge James Adkin told him. "You manipulated him and, occasionally, bullied him."