Hunt for love rat

PCSO Andrea Leigh with the poster appealing for information about a man who sold his new girlfriend's car without permission and then disappeared.

PCSO Andrea Leigh with the poster appealing for information about a man who sold his new girlfriend's car without permission and then disappeared.

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A HUNT for a love rat who disappeared after pocketing cash from the sale of his girlfriend’s car is being taken to the Toon.

Detectives trying to track down the conman believe drinkers could help reveal his true identity as he took his unwitting victim on a night out to venues in the city.

Bars they visited will be asked to put up posters showing a photograph of a man they would like to speak to as part of their appeal.

The thief, who called himself Jamie Patterson, met the Easington Colliery woman through the internet.

He dropped her off at work in Sunderland and said he would be back to pick her up following her shift once he had visited his Newcastle home to collect some of his belongings.

When he failed to turn up or answer his phone, she got a taxi home, where she had to break her way into the house, as he also had its keys.

She found spare car keys and property, including a laptop, had been taken, with documents showing the green Ford Fiesta had been sold to a Horden garage for £1,000 left behind.

The car was recovered when police were called in by the woman, who is in her 40s, but has asked to remain anonymous.

The new flyer campaign is backing up a press appeal urging anyone who knows the man to get in touch.

Detective Constable Gemma Royal, of Seaham CID, said: “It is believed from speaking with the woman that he knew the pubs in a particular area quite well.

“She states that it was the local bars by Marks & Spencer, so we’re hoping to get the posters around that area.

“It is hoped that putting the posters up in this area will bring forward people who may have missed the feature in the papers, but drink in this area frequently and may have seen him and provide us with a positive identification.

“The victim is helping police with the inquiry as she would like to draw a close to this incident and see the person held accountable for his actions.

“She also doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else and wants people to be more aware of who they are speaking to and what information they are giving about themselves.”

The man, who took the car on Wednesday, October 26, is described as in his 40s, of stocky build, 5ft 8in tall and had a shaven bald head and clean complexion.

He has tattoos on both arms bearing the names Melisa and Keighley, with another on his shoulder, and has a pierced ear and nipple.

He wears a neck chain with a Gothic symbol on it.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham