A confidence trickster with a long history of theft targeted elderly victims and used the stolen money to pay for a holiday.
John Hindson, 64, of Livingstone Road, Blackpool, left victims in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Durham Crown Court heard Hindson took almost £3,000 from a woman in her 70s as well as an insurance instalment he was supposed to pay on behalf of an 86-year-old neighbour.
Hindson vanished on June 18, 2012, days before the ‘opening’ of a fictitious restaurant venture in which he persuaded the woman to invest a loan of £2,000.
It was also less than a fortnight before he, his partner and a family friend were supposed to go on a pre-booked holiday to Blackpool for which he had collected £900 from the other woman.
Adrian Dent, prosecuting, said such was the initial concern that Hindson was reported missing, but it was not until late last November that he was ‘found’ and arrested, through medical records, at his Blackpool address.
Hindson made immediate admissions and confessed two counts of theft at his first court appearance before North Durham magistrates last month. The case was committed for sentence at Durham Crown Court, where he chose to be unrepresented on Thursday.
The court heard he had a long record for similar offending, serving a 33-month sentence in 1992, but nothing since 1998.
Mr Dent said: “This was mean, reprehensible and seems to have been perpetrated on vulnerable people.”
But after his “flit” to Blackpool, he left his partner with £6,500 of debt.
Hindson told the court: “I’m sorry for what happened. I have a terrible record.”
He added that he didn’t know why he’d done it.
Judge Clark imposed a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He made him the subject of a four-month 7pm to 7am home curfew at his Blackpool address and ordered him to repay £600 to his victims.