AN Ellesmere Port man who defrauded a 92-year-old ex-Army man out of £200 has been jailed for 15 months.

Christopher Torrens, 38, of Kalewood Road, conned his victim into believing guttering work done on the victim's home had not been paid for, Chester Crown Court heard on Tuesday, September 10.

After the victim agreed to withdraw £200 at a Port Arcades cash machine on May 16, he handed over the money to Torrens and arranged for a further £60 to be paid when Torrens visited his home address.

But when the victim – who believed the guttering work had been arranged by his wife and thought he was doing her a good turn – returned home, his wife told him: "You bloody fool – you've been conned!"

Torrens initially pleaded not guilty to the offence but changed his plea to guilty before a trial due to be heard at Chester Magistrates Court.

In addition, Torrens had committed two further thefts on June 24 which he wished would be taken into account when sentencing.

They were against an 80-year-old man who used a mobility scooter – who gave Torrens money on the basis it would be repaid; and a 19-year-old man in Ellesmere Port who opened his wallet when Torrens asked for money, but Torrens then took the money and ran off.

Judge Nicholas Woodward said only an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate.

Prosecuting, Ian Criddle said it was between 2.30 and 3.30pm when the victim was doing some shopping and Torrens met him.

Torrens appeared "friendly" and said the victim owed him £260 for unpaid guttering work.

In a victim impact statement, the victim said when he found out he had been conned, he could have been "knocked down with a feather".

He felt frustrated, angry and upset, and had requested counselling.

He had thought he was doing his wife a good turn but had been the victim of a fraud.

His wife said since the offence he had lost confidence and "had aged 10 years overnight", and with the benefit of hindsight she wished she had been more understanding about the incident with him.

Torrens had no previous convictions for fraud but was jailed in 2008 for 30 months for robbery.

Defending, Stephen Ferns said since that prison sentence, Torrens had turned his life around, had been in a long-term relationship and had an eight-year-old daughter.

Being remanded in custody was more difficult for him this time round as he missed his family.

He had had mental health problems, particularly early in 2019, but his mental health was better now.

Mr Ferns suggested the sentence be suspended and a community order with unpaid work be imposed instead.

He added: "He is very remorseful about the offence and very ashamed."

Judge Woodward said the offence had left the victim "feeling angry, frustrated and undermined in a substantial way".

He told Torrens: "Until recently you had kept out of trouble, having a stable relationship with a partner and a child. Unfortunately you have chosen to return to crime."