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Fraudster avoids prison after stealing more than £6,000 from vulnerable man

Sarah Main was given a suspended sentence at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Sarah Main was given a suspended sentence at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

A "wicked and cruel" fraudster who stole more than £6,000 from a vulnerable man she was caring for has avoided jail.

Sarah Main, 44, used the man's bank cards to buy luxury goods and services for herself - including a £644 hotel room for her wedding - over four months in 2016.

Main, of Seaview Terrace, St Osyth, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position at Chelmsford Crown Court on July 15 - the day her trial was due to begin.

The man, who has learning difficulties, had previously lived with his mother but when she became unable to look after him, he moved in with Main in January 2016 after answering an advert on Facebook.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how in July 2016, Main moved into a new flat with space for the victim and she began assisting him further with his laundry and financial affairs.

The victim then became suspicious about his finances in October 2016 and after consulting with friends, who were able to look at his bank accounts, he reported Main to the police.

The court heard she had spent £3,284.78 using the victim's account at various High Street stores, including The Range and Parker's Garden Centre, including £250 on flowers and £644 on a hotel room for her wedding.

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She also withdrew £2,866.86 in cash, including charges, from ATMs.

Mark Hansley, prosecuting, read a victim impact statement in court on Thursday, which said how the man was planning a trip to America and Ibiza for his 50th birthday but was unable to go due to lack of funds.

The victim said he had also lost confidence and had "found it hard to trust anyone" since the incident.

Matthew Sorel-Cameron, mitigating, said Main, a mother-of-two, had "substantial debts" and medical issues.

Main, who appeared via video link from Chelmsford Crown Court, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and a six-month curfew order was made.

Judge Emma Peters said: "Let's be clear, you committed a fraud upon a vulnerable man which was a wicked and cruel thing to have done.

"I recognise that initially provided assistance but you seized a chance to exploit this vulnerable man for items that you wanted."

A timetable was also set out for a confiscation order in a bid to recoup money stolen from the victim.

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