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'One of the saddest cases' - fraudster stole £26,000 from vulnerable man in Xbox scam

The victim was conned out of £26,000 in a scam involving a Microsoft Xbox. Picture: LIBRARY

The victim was conned out of £26,000 in a scam involving a Microsoft Xbox. Picture: LIBRARY

Archant

A fraudster conned a vulnerable man out of £26,000 by telling the victim his beloved Xbox games console would be cut off.

The victim’s Xbox games console was his only form of entertainment which he had become extremely reliant on to keep him occupied.

But in what police described as “one of the saddest cases” they have ever dealt with, Stuart Snowling exploited the victim’s love for the games machine by befriending him and chatting over its online messenger.

Snowling, 22, of Ansell Close, Hadleigh, then cruelly convinced the victim to pay money, telling him he would not be able to continue playing otherwise.

Hundreds of withdrawals were made by the victim over a three-year period on the pretence his online Xbox service would be cut off, with Snowling also selling the victim second-hand games at hugely inflated prices - knowing the victim did not understand the value of money.

As a result of the fraud, the victim was left without food or toiletries and lost a considerable amount of weight.

Using the victim’s debit card, Snowling also bought many other items including shoes, aftershave, and various clothes including hooded tops, a tracksuit and a jumper.

The thefts only came to light when a support worker for the victim picked up the phone from a man asking for money.

Investigating officer Pc Diane Porter said: “The victim was a vulnerable man with various health problems and Snowling exploited the situation to his full advantage by stealing his money from him.

“Although the victim led an independent lifestyle, the Xbox was the victim’s only form of entertainment and so had become extremely reliant on the console to keep him occupied.

“It is very gratifying to see Snowling convicted and the sentence handed down to him will give him plenty of opportunity to reflect on how his cruel and selfish actions bought a huge misery and distress to the victim.

“In my 26 years as a police officer with Suffolk Constabulary, this has been one of the saddest cases of fraud I have ever dealt with.”

The scale of fraud is rising in Suffolk, with residents and business in the county conned out of £5.9million in one six-month period last year.

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