A PARTIALLY blind pensioner was duped out of thousands by a gambling addict who befriended her to feed his addiction.
Sylvia Hall, 83, from Northumberland, was left living in fear after she had nearly £5,000 stolen from her over a three-month period.
Stewart Greens, 52, gained the pensioner’s trust and began helping her out with household chores. He took her on shopping trips to Alnwick, walked her dog and took her for drives.
But Greens betrayed Ms Hall by using her cash card to empty every penny from her account.
And he blew the lot in a bookmakers right next door to the bank, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
Greens, of Castlegate Court, Berwick, pleaded guilty to theft.
Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said the victim became suspicious after finding Greens loitering around upstairs for no good reason.
He said: “On another occasion, when she returned from a period in hospital, she was shocked to find he was at her address. It seemed he had acquired a key in some way.”
The pensioner, who lives alone, contacted the police after realising she was heavily overdrawn.
Greens had taken her card and pin number and made 24 withdrawals from her bank account. Mr Bunch said: “She kept her card and pin number together out of his way and she paid him for his help in cash.
“She is blind in one eye, lives off her pension and is gutted that someone could do this sort of thing. She now feels too frightened to go out.”