Pembrokeshire Confidence Trickster Is Jailed For 15 months
The Western Mail Reports -
A 43-YEAR-OLD serial confidence trickster was jailed for 15 months yesterday for defrauding hotels, B&Bs, hairdressers and other businesses in Pembrokeshire out of a total of £10,000.
Swansea Crown Court heard Saundersfoot-born Sarah Louise Cole checked into hotels and B&Bs and repeatedly made off without paying. She made a string of excuses when asked for payment, claiming she was “waiting for an inheritance” or alleging relatives would arrive with money.
She also ran up a £54 bill in a hairdresser’s shop and left without paying claiming she had “forgotten her purse” and would return to pay.
Catherine Richards, prosecuting, said on August 10 last year Cole checked into the Coach House Hotel in Pembroke and over the next 10 days ran up a £1,500 bill for food and accommodation. She left without paying. She then stayed at the Buttyland caravan park in Manorbier and left without paying a £700 bill. And at the Hillgarth B&B in Manorbier she left owing £150.
Cole also claimed to a property owner she wanted to rent an apartment but, disliking the carpets, said she would arrange for her own to be fitted at her own expense. But Ms Richards said Cole then went to Parfitt’s Carpets in Pembroke Dock and arranged for £925 worth of carpets to be fitted at the property owner’s expense.
Yesterday Cole admitted a series of charges including fraud and theft. The court heard Cole had a long history of deception going back to 1997 when she was found guilty of making false representations to get social security benefits. She had also been found guilty in the past of obtaining property by deception and stealing from her employers when working as a hotel receptionist.
Corrina Hughes for Cole said her client had been in a desperate situation last summer when the offences occurred, living out of her Fiat Punto car and suffering depression.
“She clearly has issues relating to her thinking skills and the effect of her actions on others.” She apologised to those hit by Cole’s offences on her client’s behalf.
Jailing Cole for 15 months, Judge Keith Thomas described Cole as a persistent confidence trickster and told her: “You do not give thought to the circumstances of anyone other than yourself.”