Conman jailed after nationwide search

A CONMAN caught after duping three Felixstowe pensioners while the target of a national manhunt is beginning a five-year jail term todayMark Rhodes, who posed as a church official when committing some of his 69 offences, was finally captured at Ipswich railway station.

A CONMAN caught after duping three Felixstowe pensioners while the target of a national manhunt is beginning a five-year jail term today

Mark Rhodes, who posed as a church official when committing some of his 69 offences, was finally captured at Ipswich railway station.

Police caught up with him after he was recognised by a bed and breakfast owner following an appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch.

At his sentencing Gloucester Crown Court heard the 26-year-old targeted the elderly and vulnerable. He had pleaded guilty to eight offences of distraction burglary and eight of fraud, and asked for 53 others to be taken into consideration.

Just hours before he was caught on May 1, Rhodes conned his way into a 64-year-old woman's home in Tomline Road, Felixstowe at 8.30am and stole a travel document wallet containing a passport.

He then bluffed his way in to an 86-year-old woman's home in Stennett's Close, Trimley St Mary, between 9am and 9.30am.

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After he left the pensioner discovered her purse, which had been in her handbag in the hallway, was missing.

The fraudster's final target was an 82-year-old woman in Cavendish Road, Trimley St Martin, where he went between 10am and 12.30pm. Rhodes stole �20 cash, her address book and a bank card.

He was arrested shortly afterwards. Police caught him after the owners of St Edmund's House - a bed and breakfast in Arwela Road, Felixstowe, where he was staying - recognised him in an appeal on Crimewatch the previous night.

Rhodes, from Kintore, Aberdeenshire, mainly committed the offences over a four-month period this year, with a handful of isolated offences taking place in 2007 and 2008. He was wanted by 18 police forces.

Lloyd Jenkins, defending, claimed Rhodes was "ashamed, embarrassed and remorseful".