A NORTH Yorkshire man allegedly made £180,000 in four years through a betting scam using 26 bank accounts and several different aliases, a jury heard.

Royston Peter Spearman, 53, duped his victims by telling them with a “charming” manner that if they gave him money he would gamble with it on their behalf on horse and greyhound races, said Richard Woolfall, prosecuting.

But he kept the money and spent it on holidays and high living, and when they wanted their winnings, he fobbed them off with “highly imaginative” excuses as to why he couldn’t give them their money, said Mr Woolfall.

He allegeldy told the police they had lost their money on races and were “bad losers” who wanted cash they knew they were not entitled to.

Spearman, of Moat Way, Brayton, denies 20 charges of fraud committed between June 2009 and August 2013 against 18 different people.

Mr Woolfall told York Crown Court: “The Crown says this defendant has targeted those with an interest in gambling, particularly on horses and greyhound racing. He was well able to impress them with his knowledge and experience and he used that, the Crown says, to entice them to part with their money.”

He showed the jury a list of 26 bank accounts and two credit cards the prosecution claim were operated by Spearman and alleged that in some cases after he had duped victims into giving him money using one alias, he went back to them using another name to persuade them to give more.

In each case, he used email or telephone to contact the complainants and did not give them a postal address or meet them face to face.

“When he got the money, he spent some of it in small amounts on some horse racing, but a lot of it went on holidays or good living,” claimed the barrister.

Sometimes he would refund a small amount of the money an alleged victim gave him, but only to act as a “hook” to persuade them to give him a larger amount.

The excuses used to avoid paying up included that he was in hospital with a leg that would probably be amputated, that he had to babysit his grandchildren and that he had to go to Australia to sort out some matters there, the jury was told.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.