Man jailed for shabby' crime

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 21:27 29 May 2010

REFUSE collector Laurence Ilott was sentenced to six months imprisonment on Wednesday for taking advantage of a vulnerable Felsted man and stealing thousands of pounds from him. Recorder John Dodd QC said Ilott used the victim as his personal cash disp

REFUSE collector Laurence Ilott was sentenced to six months imprisonment on Wednesday for taking advantage of a "vulnerable" Felsted man and stealing thousands of pounds from him.

Recorder John Dodd QC said Ilott used the victim as his "personal cash dispenser" and was determined to use it for all that it was worth.

Ilott, 35, of Argyll Road, Westcliffe, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to six charges of theft involving £2780.

He denied three other charges of theft involving £870 and these pleas were accepted by the prosecution.

Recorder Dodd said Ilott took advantage of someone he had known for many years and someone he realised was vulnerable. The offences were "shabby and despicable".

Stephen Franklin, prosecuting, said 35-year-old Terry Cooke, who lived in Felsted, was a man with learning difficulties.

On January 2 this year Ilott knocked on Mr Cooke's door and asked to borrow £40. He took the £40 and left.

On January 28 they met up at the end of the road and Ilott took Mr Cooke in his van to Braintree. He asked him for £500 which he handed over.

Mr Franklin said a pattern emerged where Ilott would ask for money and would drive

Mr Cooke to Braintree where he would draw money from his account and hand it over.

This happened on a number of occasions.

By the end of February Mr Cooke's funds were running out and he told Ilott he could not pay for his board and lodgings. The defendant replied: "Never mind. Do what you can."

It got to a stage where Mr Cooke had just £200 left out of an original £3000 in his account, said Mr Franklin.

Eventually a police officer who knew Mr Cooke discovered what was going on and investigated the matter. It led to the arrest of Ilott.

Defence counsel Quentin Hunt said the defendant used to go to school with Mr Cooke, who knew other members of the Ilott family.

When Ilott initially approached Mr Cooke with a view to borrowing money his initial intention was to pay the money back.

But as his financial commitments got out of hand he found he could not pay the money back, but continued to take money from Mr Cooke.

"He realises what he did was wrong," said Mr Hunt.

In addition to the prison sentence, Ilott was also ordered to pay £600 compensation to

Mr Cooke.

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