Fraudster pocketed £50,000 from man in his 70s in County Durham

Scott Hanson led his victim to believe he would be reimbursed after telling him he had a supermarket job and was set to inherit more than £80,000. Credit: NCJ Media

A fraudster who pocketed £50,000 from a man in his 70s in County Durham has been jailed.

Scott Hanson duped the victim into giving him money for a number of things including rail tickets, rent, and damage to his property.

Hanson, 38, led the man to believe he would be reimbursed after telling him he had a supermarket job and was set to inherit more than £80,000.

However, the defendant never paid the victim back and his crime only came to light when bank staff became concerned and called the police after he tried to take out a large sum of money.

Hanson appeared at Durham Crown Court on Wednesday 18 May for fraud by false representation which he pleaded guilty to before magistrates on 7 April.

Ellen Wright, prosecuting, said the incident became apparent on June 7, last year, when staff at a Lloyds bank in Durham contacted police.

The victim told officers he had been loaning money to Hanson, who he had met while volunteering at a homeless charity.

The court heard that Hanson had stayed at the home of the man occasionally and he was aware the defendant had spent time in prison.

Ms Wright said: "He had provided money to the defendant for train tickets in the past and for a short time the complainant and the defendant lost touch.

"But in January 2021 the defendant got back in touch with him and began asking for loans for various things, such as rent and damage to his property."The victim gave Hanson money on a loan basis having been told he had been left £81,000 in a will by a woman.

"The victim also believed the defendant had a job at Asda and believed he could repay him from that and the will.

"The victim felt that by paying for courses it would assist the defendant keeping employment and him getting the money back. That's why he didn't stop."

The court heard that Hanson made "repeated promises" to give the money back, but he would also give "deadlines" to his victim, telling him when he needed money by.

The court was told Hanson took £50,000 from the man between January and June, last year, and paid none of it back.

Ms Wright said that police later obtained text messages that Hanson had sent the man, saying he was going to do "something foolish to himself" if he didn't receive money as he was in a "huge mess".

The court heard Hanson began "pestering" him with numerous texts when the victim said he had "reached his limit" and did not want to give him any more money.

He also played on the man's sympathy by telling him both his parents had died.

The court heard Hanson, of no fixed address, had 20 previous convictions for 35 offences, including four convictions for fraud and theft.

In 2009, Hanson had defrauded the same victim.

Fiona Lamb, defending, said Hanson had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and said his only living family member was his brother after both his parents died.

She said: "Losing his parents has had a detrimental impact on his health and wellbeing and he finds it difficult to obtain and keep employment due to him regularly being in prison.

"He wishes that it didn't get to where it got to and accepts he didn't pay anything back."

Judge James Adkin, the Recorder of Durham, jailed Hanson for 32 months and imposed a lifetime restraining order, banning contact with the victim.