Trusted neighbour used elderly friend’s cash to fuel cocaine addiction

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A TRUSTED neighbour blew his elderly friend’s cash as his cocaine addiction spiralled out of control.

Michael David Thompson and the 71-year-old man became pals as they lived opposite each other.

But Peterleee Magistrates Court heard as the 21-year-old began to get involved with the pensioner’s finances, he helped himself to hundreds of pounds at a time by using his debit card and writing out cheques.

The court was told Thompson’s addiction to the Class A drug was at the root of the problem.

Thompson admitted nine charges of fraud by false representation totalling £2,703 between October and December last year. All the offences were committed in Seaham.

He was warned he could face jail over the scams.

Debra Jones, prosecuting said he withdrew up to £300 in one transaction to pay for clothing in a store.

She described the victim as vulnerable, being in “poor physical health” and in need of the support of social services.

“On December 12, information was received from a family friend that she believed that money was being taken from his bank accounts as well as from his house.

“A statement from Barclays bank on November 24 showed he was £114 overdrawn, which was a genuine surprise as it was believed a lot more money and funds were available.

“Information given to the police led them to speak to Mr Thompson.”

She added when Thompson was arrested on New Year’s Eve he told officers: “I knew what I’ve done would be found out. I’m so ashamed of myself.”

He told officers he had bought items for himself, and showed genuine remorse for what he had done.

Alison Banks, mitigating, said: “It’s a serious matter and there are is a drug addiction in relation to cocaine which has been the basis of his offending.”

Chairman of the bench, John Smith, said: “It’s a very severe offence and we cannot rule out custody at this stage.”

Thompson, of Park Street, Seaham, was give unconditional bail until April 10.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham