A FRAUDSTER who conned an elderly man out of his life savings and left him struggling to heat his home has been sentenced at court.

Hayden Bailey befriended the vulnerable man during a number of months in 2016 before tricking him into lending him £12,000 on the pretence he would eventually pay it back.

The 26-year-old told the man, who was in his seventies and lived alone, that he would pay him back using an insurance claim he had submitted.

However, the claim never came to fruition and the victim never received his money.

As well as facing difficulty heating his home, the elderly man was also left relying on food banks and sadly died in June last year.

Bailey, of Byers Green, Spennymoor, initially denied one count of fraud by false representation but changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial.

He appeared at Durham Crown Court on Tuesday, January 8, where he was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and pay £5,000 in compensation to the victim’s family.

PC Steve Brown, from Shildon Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “This crime was committed against a very vulnerable, kind and trusting gentleman.

“He was deeply affected by the loss of his life savings and was particularly upset that it was committed by someone who he thought of as a friend.

“Afterwards he struggled to heat his home due to financial difficulties and regularly used food banks.

“The victim sadly passed away in June last year so he was not able to see this sentence. However, his family were pleased to see some justice done.”

Durham Constabulary are asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim of fraud to call them on 101, or call 999 if they are in immediate danger.