'Dishonest to the core' conman jailed

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Ian CullenImage source, Cumbria Police
Image caption,
Ian Cullen was described as "dishonest to the very core"

A serial conman who duped a family into travelling hundreds of miles to the Lake District on the promise of a business investment has been jailed.

Drifter Ian Cullen, 59, claimed to be a lottery winner when he hoodwinked a hotel owner in Devon.

He tricked the woman into giving him bank details and offered to find her daughter a job before vanishing.

After admitting four charges of fraud, he was jailed for 50 months by a judge at Carlisle Crown Court.

Cullen, of no fixed address, used a fake name and stolen card details to pay for a hotel stay and care hire in Kendal in November.

Weeks later, he used another alias when he deceived the Devon hotel owner.

He travelled to her business, claimed to be a wealthy lottery winner who had cash to invest in a property she was looking to buy, and deceived her into providing him with an account number and sort code, supposedly for a transfer of funds.

He also offered to give her 19-year-old daughter a job and pay for university fees before inviting the family to meet him in the Lakes.

'Persistent fraudster'

But he failed to turn up at several appointments, making excuses before using money from her account to make another hire car payment.

In a victim impact statement, the hotel owner said that Cullen's offending had caused her "alarm, distress and sleepless nights".

The court was told he had 154 crimes on his record - 88 of these fraud-related.

Jailing him, Recorder Ciaran Rankin said: "You are a long-term and persistent professional fraudster.

"You are dishonest to the very core."

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