3rd Dec, 2016

Brazen trickster cons cash out of kind-hearted resident with sob story

Solihull Editorial 17th Mar, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

A ‘BRAZEN trickster’ who conned cash out of kind-hearted residents with fake sob stories of ill relatives has been jailed.

Gurtake Singh, from Scribers Lane in Hall Green, preyed on the goodwill of people – particularly the elderly – by claiming he desperately needed taxi money to visit family members in hospital.

The 37-year-old pocketed cash ranging from £20 to £350 from people in Hall Green, Acocks Green, Moseley and Sparkbrook between June and October last year before West Midlands Police linked him to the string of deceptions.

On two occasions he drove pensioners – including an 80-year-old man he approached at a bus stop – to cash points when told they were short of money.

Detectives arrested Singh – who has past convictions for burglary, theft, fraud and selling counterfeit goods – on October 13, last year.

They also found address details for a Shirley home scrawled on a piece of paper in his car, which led them to another victim who’d parted with £70.

Singh admitted 11 counts of fraud, plus one charge of theft, and was jailed for 37 months at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday (March 14).

He was also ordered to pay back £1,552 compensation to his victims and was made subject of a Criminal Behaviour Order that bans him from cold calling addresses and from asking people in the street for cash.

If caught breaching the order he will face more jail time.

Unemployed Singh first struck in June in Hall Green where he convinced a 69-year-old man to hand over £30 and swiped a silver tankard on leaving.

On August 31 he introduced himself as ‘Mr Con’ to an 84-year-old woman, also from Hall Green, and kissed her on both cheeks as she handed over £40 from her pension.

Another kind-hearted 84-year-old woman offered him £80 when he knocked the door of her Moseley home on September 23 – but Singh left with £100 after telling her “you might as well round it up”.

On October 1, Singh took £150 from an 82-year-old woman in Hall Green and returned the next day with a ‘fruit wreath’ to say thank-you – before getting her to take out another £350 to help pay for a medical trip to India.

Six days later he persuaded an 80-year-old Hall Green man, who he approached at a bus stop, to withdraw £250 having lied about his mother being hospitalised following a fall.

DC Estelle Albutt said: “Our advice would be never to let strangers into your home and certainly never hand over money, irrespective of what they’re telling you or any claims they are making.”