South Shields conman spared jail over Facebook medal-selling scam

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A conman who stole over £160 from a collector in a “devious” medal-selling scam has walked free from court.

Christopher Wade was put in touch with a buyer through a Facebook page, where he was offering to sell some medals on behalf of a family member for £82.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the customer paid the cash directly into Wade’s account, but then received a call from a bogus bank manager saying he needed to carry out the transaction again.

Wade, 32, who had already sold the medals to someone else, then pocketed the £164 that had been paid over.

Within days the 56-year-old buyer realised he had been duped and contacted the police, telling them Wade was a “thief and liar”.

Wade, of Green Lane, South Shields, was arrested, and admitted theft.

The frustrated customer told detectives; “The theft of the money by this defendant has had a negative impact on the way I trust people.

“The initial anger at being duped raised my stress levels and caused sleeplessness.

“I still feel anger and resentment towards him. I wouldn’t wish him well.

“I hope he is punished to the full extent of the law for his crime.”

The court heard Wade has previous convictions for dishonesty, including a scam against Sainsbury’s when he made repeated claims for ripped trousers, claiming they got damaged in store.

Mr Recorder Morris QC sentenced Wade to a community order for 15 months with supervision, programme requirements and a £164 compensation order.

The judge said: “It is all unpleasant.

“The twist of getting the extra £82 out of him at the end was pretty devious.

“It is evidence of a more sophisticated confidence trick then merely selling something and keeping the money.”

Gavin Doig, defending, said Wade, who has health problems, now wants to repay the money he took from the victim and has stayed out of trouble since his last offence eight months ago.