A FRAUDSTER befriended an elderly man before betraying him and stealing more than £10,000.

James Morris started by assisting the 70-year-old, who suffers from dementia, with his shopping because he could not drive and had restricted mobility.

He befriended the Ainsworth resident in March 2016 and then over the coming months embedded himself deeper into the man's life, taking control of his bank cards and possession of his financial documents and starting to steal from the man.

In April this year, when the man was hospitalised with heart problems, Morris, aged 43, wrote and sent a letter to a firm that managed some investments on behalf of the victim, asking that they be cashed in and the money paid into one of the bank accounts he had access to.

The letter aroused the suspicions of the investment manager who then contacted one of the victim's friends to raise concerns.

When the friend looked into the matter, he found Morris had used the victim's account for transactions totalling more than £10,000 between March 31 2017 and May 16 2017.

It also became apparent that on two occasions Morris, of Knowsley Road in Ainsworth, had attempted to cash a cheque to his personal bank account from the victim worth thousands of pounds.

On the second attempt he was almost successful in his theft of the money but the police managed to stop the transaction before the funds were cleared.

The incidents were reported to police and an investigation was launched, during which it was found that Morris had also re-registered the victim’s cars to himself and insured them in his name.

Today at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court Morris was sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud, theft of cash and attempted theft.

Detective Constable Ian Smith, of GMP’s Bury borough said: “James Morris took advantage of a vulnerable man with dementia who trusted him as his friend and stole thousands of pounds from him.

“He simply did not care about betraying his supposed friend who relied upon because he was lining his own pockets with the victim’s hard earned cash.

“There is no excuse for what he did and he will now have time to reflect on that as he spends the foreseeable future waking up in a prison cell.”