Hartlepool Police praise officers' work after fraudster who conned OAP is sentenced

A Hartlepool police chief has praised two of his officers who “worked tirelessly to achieve justice” for an elderly fraud victim.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 5:26 pm

An investigation began in 2018 after care home staff raised concerns about unauthorised withdrawals being made from an 85-year old resident’s bank account.

Neighbourhood PCs Ryan Priestman and Shaun Newton carried out extensive inquiries and 58-year-old Craig Johnston has now been sentenced at court.

Johnston, of Sheriff Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to fraud when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court on January 4 where he had been due to stand trial.

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Unauthorised withdrawals were made from the victim's bank account.

The case had been listed for three or four days.

Johnston was sentenced to 51 weeks prison, which was suspended for two years, and ordered to pay back £1,700 in compensation to the victim.

Neighbourhoods Sergeant Martin Skirving-Chehab paid tribute to the officers, saying: “Fraud cases can be extremely complex, but PCs Priestman and Newton worked tirelessly for three years to achieve the right result for a vulnerable member of our community.

“Their professionalism, determination, and sensitivity while dealing with the elderly victim, has been unwavering throughout and the whole team is very proud of them.

“On their behalf I’d also like to thank the care home staff, the DWP and the victim’s bank for their support throughout the investigation.”

Johnston must also wear an electronic tag and observe a curfew for three months as part of the sentence.

To contact Cleveland Police call the non emergency 101 number.

For information and advice on cyber crime and other types of fraud visit Action Fraud’s website at www.actionfraud.police.uk.

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