Cack-handed fraudster paying his debt

A “CACK-HANDED” fraudster who botched an attempt to con a Stowmarket bank into giving him £15,000 is today counting the cost of his lies.Bungling conman Brendan Kelly, 42, tried to withdraw the money from Barclays Bank in Market Place, Stowmarket, but sharp-eyed staff noticed the passport he used for identification was not his own.

A “CACK-HANDED” fraudster who botched an attempt to con a Stowmarket bank into giving him £15,000 is today counting the cost of his lies.

Bungling conman Brendan Kelly, 42, tried to withdraw the money from Barclays Bank in Market Place, Stowmarket, but sharp-eyed staff noticed the passport he used for identification was not his own.

Kelly, of Glenelg Road, Brixton, admitted two counts of attempted deception against Barclays.

During a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court he was ordered to carry out 240 hours community service and to pay more than £1,700 toward the cost of bringing his case.

Kelly's first attempt at deceiving the bank came when he visited the Stowmarket branch on January 8, 2003 and asked to withdraw £15,000.

A few days before the bank had received a call from someone claiming to be a Mr Maguire who arranged for the money to be readied for withdrawal.

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Prosecutor John Fenn told the court that Kelly's plan began to unravel almost as soon as it began.

He said: “The person dealing with him was suspicious. The passport (he used) looked like it had been tampered with.”

The Barclays employee asked Kelly for more identification and he said it was in his car and he would get it. However he did not return.

The branch then contacted the police and, when Kelly tried the same scam at a branch in Bury St Edmunds a week later on January 15, plainclothes officers were waiting.

On that occasion he tried to withdraw £5,000, again under the name Maguire.

Mr Fenn said: “Again he used the passport. He was asked to wait and (provide) further identification. Police were notified and he was duly arrested.”

Kelly told police he needed the money to pay off an £800 drugs debt.

The court heard that the passport Kelly used had been tampered with and the photograph had been swapped. It was also not signed.

Despite being arrested more than two years ago Kelly absconded while on bail and was only brought before magistrates in October last year.

Mitigating, Hugh Vass told Judge David Goodin that Kelly was under pressure to pay off his debt.

He said: “There was some pressure put on him. He had to give the money to the people he owed.”

Sentencing, Judge Goodin said the offences could have landed Kelly in prison.

However he said he would instead give him a chance to salvage his life as a working family man.

He said: “These were pretty pathetic, cack-handed attempts.

“You were caught, as indeed you were always going to be.”

Judge Goodin revoked a community punishment order imposed by magistrates at Camberwell Green in London in October last year for another offence.

Instead he imposed two community punishment orders for 240 hours each, to run concurrently.

He also ordered Kelly to pay £725 toward prosecution costs and another £1,000 toward the costs of his defence.

Barclays welcomed the conviction and praised its eagle-eyed staff who thwarted Kelly's attempts.

Terry Staff, the bank's area director for Suffolk, said: “It's testimony to the skills and training of our staff that this fraudster has been convicted.

“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing and most insidious forms of fraud in the UK.”

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