‘Despicable’ con man jailed for two years

Court news
Court news

A door to door salesman who conned elderly people in Mareham le Fen to buy goods at massively inflated prices has been branded “despicable” by a judge.

Michael Harrison targeted elderly people in the village, near Horncastle, knocking on doors offering household goods for sale.

One woman was so frightened by him fearing he would not take ‘no’ for an answer that she agreed to pay £215 for items which were worth just £20.

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that the victim believed the only was she get Harrison to leave was to give him the money for items which included handkerchiefs, dish cloths and scissors.

The elderly woman was so upset by the incident that it caused her to have an angina attack.

Three weeks later Harrison returned to the same village and conned an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer into paying £30 for a pair of garden secateurs worth £2.79.

The court was told that the woman was left devastated by the incident and had to give up living independently and move into a care home.

Harrison was subsequently traced by police and arrested.

Michael Harrison, 33, of Rose Ash Lane, Bestwood Park, Nottingham, admitted two charges of fraud on 20 March and 11 April this year. He was jailed for two years.

Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, told him “You targeted two elderly, vulnerable ladies. People who do that are despicable. There can only be a sentence of immediate imprisonment.”

Raglan Ashton, defending, said that Harrison had previously been destitute but managed to turn his life around after forming a relationship.

Mr Ashton said “This woman came into his life and immeasurably improved it. He was in a long-standing relationship with her. He had stability and he had a settled home. His life was very much changed.”

He told the court that Harrison’s partner was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in March 2014.

Mr Ashton said “He returned to being on the streets without any money. He developed a drug addiction for the first time . As a consequence he committed these offences.

“He was endeavouring to earn money and the only way he thought he could do so was by going door to door.”