A CONMAN who tried to get cash from people in Droitwich by saying his cat had been run over and he needed to take it to the vet has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Shane Hodgkiss, 31, approached two women in their gardens in Droitwich with hard luck stories to try and get money to buy drugs, Worcester Crown Court heard.
Rupert Jones, prosecuting, told the court Hodgkiss approached a single mother while she was in her garden to ask if he could do some gardening work. He returned again several days later, on September 15 last year, to say he needed £3 for his electricity meter. She refused and did not answer the door when he returned.
He then approached a woman in her late sixties, who had been recently widowed, in her garden and again asked for gardening work. He went back on October 1 and asked her for £3 because his van had broken down, which she gave him. On October 4, he asked the same woman for cash to take his cat to the vet because it had been run over but she didn't give him the money.
"It transpired he didn't own a van and he didn't own a cat," Mr Jones said.
He told the court it was a case of low level fraud with small amounts of cash involved but Hodgkiss had targeted vulnerable victims.
Belinda Ariss, defending, said Hodgkiss had been jailed for similar offences in 2012. He was completely free of drugs when he was released in July, 2013, but within a couple of months he was back using heroin and committed the latest offences.
In November, she said, he decided to get clean again and had not used drugs since. He had a stable home life with his mother in Mayflower Road, Droitwich, and had an offer of work.
Recorder Stephen Campbell said he had decided on a lenient sentence to give Hodgkiss a chance to stay free of drugs.
"You have been given many chances in the past and you are unlikely to get another one," he said.
Hodgkiss pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud by false representation. He was given three months concurrent on each one, a total of three months, suspended for 18 months with supervision. He was also ordered to do 60 hours unpaid work within twelve months and to undertake drug rehabilitation for six months.