A FRAUDSTER who cheated an elderly woman out of thousands of pounds has been jailed for three years.

James Stuart Richmond, 33, used two women to help him sell stolen property for cash and to buy goods from shops, said Robert Stevenson, prosecuting.

With Julie Anne McKenzie, 35, he used a bank card more than 30 times in three days to buy goods and take cash from cash machines worth £2,951. The card had been stolen from the home of an 88-year-old woman.

Then he gave jewellery stolen in a raid on another elderly woman’s home to Hannah Hazel Wood, 28, for her to sell for him to money lenders.

He had a long record for dishonesty including burglaries and had previously served a seven-year sentence for aggravated burglary and drug supply, York Crown Court heard.

His barrister Kirsten Mercer said he was not involved in either raid on the elderly women and didn’t know how old they were. Judge Peter Hunt told him: “You have been offending in a serious way for many years. That shows a persistence and a determination for a criminal lifestyle.”

Richmond, of Stamford Street East, Leeman Road, York, pleaded guilty to four charges of theft and four of fraud involving the card and asked for 26 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

He also admitted handling the stolen jewellery.

McKenzie, of Sandcroft Road, Dringhouses, was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for her part in the card crimes at an earlier hearing. York Crown Court heard then that Richmond was the main offender.

The judge said she had “exceptional” mitigation. Wood, of the same address as Richmond, pleaded guilty to handling the jewellery and three frauds.

Mr Stevenson said she was caught on CCTV in the shops where she sold it.

The judge said she had no previous convictions for dishonesty and had played a lesser role, but her actions had been “wicked”. He gave her a nightly 12-hour curfew to last for five months.

For Richmond, Miss Mercer said he had been a heroin addict since he was 18. Since being remanded in custody he had come off methadone and needed help in staying clear of drugs.

He wanted to change his lifestyle and spend more time with his children.

For Wood, Peter Byrne said she had been put under pressure by Richmond to sell the jewellery and she had also been under financial pressure.