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Vulnerable elderly women from Downham Market conned in charity bike ride scam

16:49 16 February 2017

Dean Burtenshaw outside King's Lynn Magistrates Court. Picture: Ian Burt

Dean Burtenshaw outside King's Lynn Magistrates Court. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2016

A man who conned three elderly women into sponsoring him for a non-existent charity bike ride has been ordered to pay the money back.

Dean Burtenshaw, 31, formerly of Hall Farms Cottages, Marham, pretended he was raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Today he admitted three counts of fraud by false representation when he appeared before King’s Lynn magistrates.

Alison Cotterill, prosecuting, told magistrates that in August last year Burtenshaw approached a woman in Downham Market who was suffering early onset dementia and asked her whether she remembered sponsoring him for a charity bike ride.

“She didn’t remember sponsoring him but he seemed pleasant, she got some money and handed over £10,” she said. “It played on her mind but she didn’t tell anyone. She lived on her own.”

The court heard Burtenshaw returned to the victim’s home on September 1 but she didn’t answer the door. She told a nurse about the incident and she encouraged her to report it to the police.

Mrs Cotterill said: “She was very upset and crying. She felt frightened when he came back.”

Burtenshaw also took £5 from another elderly woman after convincing her he was doing a sponsored charity run for the hospital and that he was in the army, magistrates heard. A third woman he tried to con did not hand him any money.

In police interview, Burtenshaw was asked what bike he would use for the charity bike ride, to which he replied he had an exercise bike.

When asked what he had done with the money, he replied he had become thirsty after acquiring £5 and bought himself a drink.

Roger Glazebrook, in mitigation for Burtenshaw, said: “He feels really bad for the women and couldn’t imagine anyone doing that to his grandmother.

“He is really sorry and accepts what he has done is serious.”

Burtenshaw, who now lives in London, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation and was ordered to pay his victims compensation totalling £165.

He was also given an eighteen-week suspended sentence, suspended for two years, ordered to pay £140 victim surcharge and 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Chair of the bench, Julie Costley, told the defendant: “You targeted vulnerable victims and the offences were planned.”

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