A prolific fraudster has been jailed again at the age of 67 after he tricked an old school friend into giving him thousands of pounds.
Former Brighouse man Peter Hirst was given lengthy prison sentences in 1994 and 2002 for previous investment scams and today (Tuesday) he was back before a judge at Bradford Crown Court and jailed for a year.
Hirst, now of Butterworth Hill, Outlane, Huddersfield, has a record of previous convictions dating back more than four decades, but Judge David Hatton QC said his latest fraud was a particularly mean offence.
Hirst’s victim Christopher Bottomley had known for more than 50 years, but over a seven-month period the defendant swindled him out of the cash.
Prosecutor Michael Collins said Hirst had repaid some of the money during that period, but the complainant was now £12,000 out of pocket.
Hirst had been due to stand trial over the fraud allegation, but today he pleaded guilty to the offence sparing Mr Bottomley the ordeal of having to give evidence in front of a jury.
Mr Collins said the complainant had been left feeling saddened because he thought of the defendant as a friend and he was also anxious about his financial future having lost a substantial amount of money.
Hirst’s finances will be investigated under the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, but Mr Collins said the complainant recognised that the prospects of getting his money back were limited.
“During a period of several months, and on a number of occasions, you extracted cash from a man who believed he was your friend and you were his by false representations,” the judge told Hirst.
“Money which he could ill afford and which has left his financial future in some uncertainty.”
The judge accepted that Hirst had not been in trouble for many years, but he said it was a particularly mean offence involving a considerable breach of trust.