A Romanian man targeted pensioners in County Armagh and beyond and used their bank cards to withdraw thousands of pounds, a court has been told today (Tuesday).
The 39-year-old will spend half of a 30-month sentence handed down at Belfast Crown Court behind bars.
Before the court today was Catalin Sandhu, with an address at Wolverhampton in England.
The court heard that he operated with a co-accused who has already been jailed.
Together they operated a scam which took in more than £9,000.
Sandhu pleaded guilty to a total of seven charges of fraud by false representation, as well as one charge of attempted theft from a person.
All of the victims in this case were pensioners – six women and one man – who were targeted while shopping in supermarkets in Craigavon and Lurgan in County Armagh, as well as others in the greater Belfast area, Lisburn, Sprucefield and Carrickfergus.
One of the cards was used in Drogheda in County Louth.
The court was told Sandhu and another man waited until the victims went to use their cards to pay for goods. One would watch to see the PIN number being entered.
When they left the premises, one would stop the victim outside on the pretence of claiming they had dropped money or asking for change.
This would get the elderly victims opening their purses of wallet, while sleight of hand was used to take the cash card, which was then used immediately afterwards to buy groceries – as well as drawing out the maximum amount of money it would allow.
Sentencing Sandhu to 30 months – half in prison and half on supervised licence – Judge Gordon Kerr told him his victims had been singled out because they were “old and vulnerable”.
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