A CONMAN is behind bars for tricking money out of pensioners and a burglary which forced a woman to leave her home.

One of the elderly victims tricked in Shaun Hogg's cigarette scam handed over his entire winter fuel allowance, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Hogg, 43, had not been out of prison long when he swindled people in pubs and clubs in Hartlepool, Eston and Saltburn.

He offered cheap cigarettes to four men, aged 67 to 80, using well-practised patter claiming his father knew them and calling one by his nickname.

He pocketed their money, claimed he would bring the imported fags from his car, left and never returned, said prosecutor Jenny Haigh.

Hogg took a 67-year-old man to a cash machine to get £290, before jumping into his car and fleeing, said Miss Haigh.

It was a 72-year-old man who used his winter fuel allowance when he paid £240 for tobacco.

In impact statements, the victims spoke variously about how the scam had left them "constantly looking behind me" and feeling suspicious, disgusted, "silly and embarrassed" and "completely conned".

On November 6 last year, Hogg called at a 56-year-old woman's home in Thornaby, near Stockton, lying that her husband had sent him.

He walked in uninvited and persistently asked her for £220 until she was so scared she handed over the cash to get him out.

She said in her impact statement that she felt nervous, scared and unsafe, had lost sleep and was suffering nightmares of the intruder and the "terrifying moment".

She said she would "never forget his face", lost one stone in weight due to worry, was afraid to leave home on her own to begin with, and eventually had to move home.

Hogg's activities in October to November flouted an indefinite anti-social behaviour order made in July 2008 for carrying out similar cons.

Hogg, of Wellmead Road, Middlesbrough, admitted burglary, four frauds and five breaches of the Asbo, and was jailed for three-and-a-half years.

The court heard that he has two previous burglaries, on a record containing "well over" 100 offences, mostly for dishonesty and fraud.

Keith Allen,mitigating, said Hogg's partner – who wept in the public gallery as he was jailed – saw another side to him and wrote a letter in support.

Judge Stephen Ashurst told Hogg: "You are a burglar and in particular a conman.You are a very well-practised in deceiving other people. It's only you that can change."