Suffolk

Partner catches 'swingers' website fraudster

A man turned detective to track down the person who had used stolen photographs of his partner to create a fake profile on a "swingers'" website.

Steven Britchfield, 35, of Graham Road, Felixstowe, used photos of neighbour Joanne Elliott to create the fake profile, pretending to be a lesbian.

He was caught when Miss Elliott's partner, James Ward, set up his own profile and began contacting him.

Britchfield was given a 12-month community order after admitting fraud.

Mr Ward said Miss Elliott's underwear and the card from her camera, containing "non-explicit pictures", were stolen from his home five years ago.

Image copyright James Ward
Image caption James Ward created his own profile to trace Steven Britchfield

Someone told Miss Elliott her photos were being used on a "swingers'" website last year.

Britchfield had used them to create a fake profile, entitled "Stow Slut".

'Pretty horrific'

"He was pretending to be a woman, looking for other pictures of women, and was using Joanne's photos to do it," Mr Ward said.

"The police told me it would be a difficult case to investigate so I decided to do it myself.

"A female friend let me use her picture to set up my own profile."

Mr Ward traced Britchfield by looking at people who had left comments on the fake profile.

One of these users had a comment from "Stow Slut", so Mr Ward made contact and eventually persuaded him to send a photograph of his own.

"He sent a picture of himself in the bath and that's when we realised he was our neighbour," Mr Ward said.

"It was pretty horrific knowing he was so close."

Britchfield admitted fraud by false representation and possessing images for use in a fraud.

Magistrates in Ipswich said he must not contact Miss Elliott for a year.

Regarding the stolen photos, Suffolk Police said: "There was not enough evidence for police to proceed with a burglary charge against Britchfield."

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