A FRAUDSTER who stole thousands of pounds from his stepfather’s building society account only days after being spared prison was yesterday locked up for six months.

In February, magistrates gave habitual criminal John Weatherill, 45, a community order with probation supervision for stealing giro cheques from his 73-year-old stepfather, Fredrick Hutton.

Days later, Weatherill went back to the pensioner’s home in Hartlepool, stole his building society passbook and began systematically emptying his savings account.

Within slightly more than a week, he withdrew more than £3,000 in eight transactions, Teesside Crown Court was told.

Mr Hutton said in a victim impact statement: “The incident has left me feeling extremely angry as I have tried to help him many times in the past and this is a kick in the teeth.”

The court heard that Weatherill was first convicted of dishonesty as a 12-year-old, and Judge John Walford said his offending had “continued almost unabated ever since”.

Unemployed Weatherill, of Grange Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to eight charges of fraud and one of theft at an earlier hearing.

Joseph Spencer, in mitigation, said Weatherill used most of the money to pay off his son’s debt to drug dealers, but also confessed to spending about £1,000 on himself.