A MAN who has conned Good Samaritans of tens of thousands of pounds, preying on their generosity and kindness, is back behind bars after his latest bout of fraud.

Scott Hanson was on licence at the time of his most recent crimes following his release midway through a 30-month sentence for defrauding a devout churchgoer of £27,000, in Cockermouth, Cumbria, in 2018.

Durham Crown Court heard his recent activities came to light when Lloyds Bank staff in the city became suspicious over unusually frequent withdrawals of money by a long-standing account holder in his 70s.

Ellen Wright, prosecuting, said when staff asked about the uncharacteristic number of withdrawals, the account holder gave vague answers, leading them to suspect he may have been the victim of fraud.

Miss Wright said in line with bank protocol it was reported to police and officers went to the branch to meet the victim, who told them he had been lending money to the defendant.

He said he first met Hanson while volunteering for a charity that helps homeless men find a bed for the night, even putting him up himself on a few occasions.

Miss Wright said the victim told police he was aware that Hanson had spent some time previously in prison and said he provided him with funds for train tickets in the past, money he did not expect to be repaid.

Having lost touch with him for some time, the defendant contacted him in January 2021 when he again began asking him for loans for various things, including fines, rent, repairs to property and rail tickets which he claimed he would repay once he received money from a supposed £81,000 inheritance from a lady called ‘Margaret’.

The victim believed Hanson had a job with Asda and would be able to repay him from his earnings and from the money from the will.

He said he had paid for the defendant to take a forklift truck driving course as he believed it would better his job prospects and earning potential.

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But the victim said the repeated promises to repay the money, even when Hanson was given deadlines for payment, were never met, while the demands for further “loans” continued.

Miss Wright said the victim, who feared the ‘ping’ on his phone every time the defendant sent him a message, estimated he had defrauded him of £63,000 over six months, from January to June 2021, money he had inherited himself, from his parents.

The defence disputed the amount and a figure of £50,000 was accepted by the Crown.

Hanson, 38, formerly of Tempest Road, Hartlepool, but described in court as of no fixed abode, admitted a single charge of fraud covering the entire six-month period.

The court heard his 20 convictions for 35 past offences, feature four for fraud, including one dating from 2009 involving the same victim.

Fiona Lamb, mitigating, conceded there were “aggravating features” to her client’s crime, but she said he did plead guilty at the earliest opportunity.

She said since his last sentence he has lost his father, 11 years after the death of his mother and he only now has one surviving family member, a younger brother.

Miss Lamb said the loss of his parents has had a detrimental effect on both his general health and his mental health.

She added that he has found it hard to find employment due to the time he has spent in the prison system.

Judge James Adkin said it was another example of the defendant befriending someone and making false promises to pay back money loaded from them.

He said Hanson, “continually tried to garner sympathy”, even using veiled threats that he would “do something foolish” if he wasn’t given the money requested.

Imposing a 32-month prison sentence he also made Hanson subject of a lifetime restraining order forbidding him from contacting the victim.

A crime proceeds “review” hearing will be heard in the case in September.

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