Thief faces jail after cash con

PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 21:18 29 May 2010

A THIEF has been warned he faces a jail sentence for stealing thousands of pounds from a man with learning difficulties. Laurence Ilott, 35, of Argyll Road, Westcliff, admitted six charges of theft against a Felsted man involving £2,780. He denied three

A THIEF has been warned he faces a jail sentence for stealing thousands of pounds from a man with learning difficulties.

Laurence Ilott, 35, of Argyll Road, Westcliff, admitted six charges of theft against a Felsted man involving £2,780.

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

Ilott was remanded on bail for four weeks for pre-sentence reports by Recorder Giles Eyre who told him: "I make it clear to you that this is a serious matter.

"The court will have a sentence of imprisonment in mind.

He stressed: "All options are being left open."

Stephen Franklin, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, said Terry Cooke, who lived in Felsted, was a man with learning difficulties.

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

Mr Franklin said where Ilott would regularly ask for money and would drive Mr Cooke to Braintree where he would draw money from his account and hand it over.

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 from his £3000 account, said

Mr Franklin.

At that point PC Smith, who had known Mr Cooke for many years, heard about the situation.

He spoke to Mr Cooke who was due to meet Ilott again that evening. Mr Cooke was clearly distressed because he had no money left.

PC Smith went with Mr Cooke and was hiding in the shadows when the defendant turned up in his white van. PC Smith came out of the shadows and said to Ilott, "Hello Laurence. Can we have a chat?"

Ilott accelerated away in his van and was arrested at his home two days later. He was found hiding in a cupboard under the stairs.

In a police interview Ilott admitted borrowing £50 from Mr Cooke but said there was no time limit for the repayment.

Ilott said he "hadn't a clue" why allegations were being made against him, except that someone in the village was "stirring things up.

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