Man attempted to get vulnerable Great Yarmouth pensioner to hand over £12,000

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A man tried to con a vulnerable 78-year-old pensioner with learning difficulties into handing over £12,000 for non-existent building work carried out at his Great Yarmouth home, a court heard.

John Rooney, 20, pretended he was the grandson of the pensioner, and took him to the Santander bank, in Great Yarmouth Market Place, in an attempt to get the victim to transfer cash, Norwich Crown Court heard.

David Wilson, prosecuting, said that quick-thinking bank staff became suspicious and made inquiries themselves and stopped the pensioner losing his savings to fraudsters.

He said when Rooney realised the cash was not going to be transferred, he walked off and shouted to the victim: 'See you later, grandad.'

He said that when the victim was interviewed it turned out he had previously lost £15,000 in other scams for building work. Mr Wilson said an examination was also carried out by a surveyor to see if any work had been carried out and said: 'It was quite obvious that very little, if any, work had been done to that property.'

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Rooney, who is now living in Plymouth, admitted the fraud on September 3, 2015.

Danielle O'Donovan, for Rooney, said that he himself was a vulnerable young man with problems, and said that he would not have benefitted from the scam, as the money was going to be transferred into another third party account.

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She said he had been employed as a labourer and had been told to take the victim to the bank. She said he had not been involved in any other scam involving the victim.

She added: 'He expresses a great deal of remorse.'

Recorder Frank Burton imposed 18 weeks custody, suspended for a year, and ordered Rooney to do 150 hours unpaid work.

He said the unpaid work would give him the chance to make amends: 'You have the opportunity to make amends for this serious offence.'

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