Crooks who conned vulnerable Colne man jailed

A GANG of 'despicable' crooks who conned a vulnerable Colne man over building work and fleeced him out of almost £2,000, are all behind bars.

Luke Franks, 24, Dean Mortimer, 42, and Mark McConnell, 30, had targeted the victim over five months.

They carried out a planned campaign of harassment, in which cash was demanded from the victim and he was taken to cash machines to get money. In all, he was cheated out of £1,880, Burnley Crown Court was told.

The defendants have about 200 convictions between them. Mortimer was already in jail for three years for burglary. He has 138 offences on his record, 72 of them for theft and has had a £25,000 a year amphetamine habit.

The hearing was told how crack cocaine and heroin addict Franks started the scam by finding a vulnerable victim to prey on. He then introduced McConnell, who was on prison licence, so the pair could go round and get money. Mortimer then got involved.

Franks, of Knotts Lane, Colne, Mortimer, of Derby Street, Nelson, and McConnell, of Duke Street, Colne, all admitted fraud allegations.

Franks, a convicted robber, with 18 offences to his name, and Mortimer were locked up for 16 months. McConnell received 10 months. McConnell has almost 50 offences on his record, 27 of them for theft.

Judge Beverley Lunt also made a restraining order, banning the three from contacting the victim and from going onto his street.

Richard Taylor, for Franks, said the offences were 'extremely mean at the best.' His drug addictions had left him with mental health issues. He had shown remorse and had saved up £200 from his benefits to give to the victim.

Defending Mortimer, Rachel Cooper said: "This is a man with a long record. All of that is because of the pernicious drugs problem he has struggled with for many years."

Mark Stuart, representing McConnell, said he was subject to recall from a five year sentence, imposed in 2010 and it could potentially be until 2015.

Sentencing, Judge Lunt told the defendants: "It's despicable behaviour. It's dishonest behaviour."

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