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Conman goes to jail for mean trick

PUBLISHED: 10:18 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:10 03 July 2010

A CAREER conman stole the savings of a vulnerable man and his elderly mother and then stole the son's identity to help him to commit a series of frauds totalling £100,000, a court heard yesterday.

A CAREER conman stole the savings of a vulnerable man and his elderly mother and then stole the son's identity to help him to commit a series of frauds totalling £100,000, a court heard yesterday.

Paul McSweeney, 49, befriended Glenn Ecclestone, who lived with his 69-year-old mother Edna in Great Yarmouth, and stole both their savings - amounting to more that £6,000 - by pretending he worked for the Saudi government and could invest their cash.

He then used the identity of Mr Ecclestone to obtain credit cards, open a bank account and buy a new Ford Fusion car on finance. He later sold the vehicle even though he had only made one payment on it.

Jonathan Morgans, prosecuting, told Norwich Crown Court that McSweeney was so brazen that he even reported the car as stolen and made a statement to police claiming to be Mr Ecclestone.

McSweeney, who has been living at Huntingdon, admitted a series of frauds and asked the court to consider 62 similar offences.

The court was told that McSweeney had more than 50 previous offences for dishonesty and fraud to his name.

Jailing him for four years and two months, Judge Peter Jacobs said McSweeney was a serial trickster who had preyed on a vulnerable man and his elderly mother.

He told him: “It was all the money they had, and you cleaned them out of their life savings. That was a mean confidence trick.”

He said it did not stop there as McSweeney had stolen Mr Ecclestone's identity to obtain credit cards and set up a bank account and had obtained more than £40,000.

McSweeney was arrested, and while on bail and living in Cambridgeshire he committed more frauds, claiming he worked for the Saudi government and could get match tickets to top football games.

Judge Jacobs said he was a serial career conman and added: “People need to be protected from confidence tricksters like you.”

Duncan O'Donnell, for McSweeney, said he had a bad heart condition ad his wife had left him. He added: “He understands his behaviour was unacceptable. He is a severely ill man with a greatly reduced life expectancy.”

Another man, Conrad Impey, 30, of College Court, Yarmouth, who admitted handling £3,000 of the stolen goods taken by McSweeney, was given an eight-month jail sentence suspended for a year.

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