A LOVE rat tricked a woman out of her car after he conned his way into her heart.
The Romeo, who called himself Jamie Patterson, met his victim through an internet dating site and within three weeks of becoming a couple he began to leave his belongings at her Easington Colliery home.
The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, told police how her Prince Charming offered to drop her off at work, in her Ford Fiesta, and that was the last she saw of him – and her car.
The man said he planned to pick up more of his items from his Newcastle home, but failed to go back to pick up the woman, who is aged in her 40s.
She called his phone, but when there was no answer got a taxi back home.
As her house and car keys were together, she had to break in to her own home and, once inside, realised he had taken his clothes and left behind documentation which showed the Fiesta had been sold to a garage in Horden for £1,000.
Two sets of car keys and its MOT certificate were also gone, along with other property including a laptop.
The car was recovered by police after the incident was reported.
Pc Gemma Royal, of Seaham CID, is leading the investigation.
She said the victim “feels more embarrassed that she allowed herself to trust this man and has taken his word for granted”.
She added: “She’s obviously shocked and upset he’s done this to her.
“What appeared to be a plan to take her to work then went on to him selling her car.
“If anyone knows who this man is, we want them to come forward.”
The woman knew the man as Jaime or Jamie Patterson, but did not see proof of his identity or his address.
But, the victim has given detectives a detailed description of the man.
He was in his 40s, of stocky build, a shaved bald head, about 5ft 8in tall and had a clean complexion.
He has tattoos on both arms featuring the names Melisa and Keighley, another on his shoulder and has a pierced ear and nipple.
He also wears a silver neck chain with Gothic symbol.
The incident happened on Wednesday, October 26 last year, but information has only just been released by police.
Officers have also released a picture of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.