A FRAUDSTER who targeted vulnerable pensioners to acquire £67,500 has been jailed for four years.

Patrick Baker was found guilty of two counts of fraud by false representation by a jury at Bournemouth Crown Court.

During a trial, the court heard how the former Poole Tourism boss told his victims he needed large sums of money as he was defaulting on his mortgage and feared bailiffs would seize his home.

The jury was told that the 64-year-old promised to repay the money through two “big business deals” coming in which would produce a “life changing” sum of money. But prosecutors said neither of those who had lent him money received anything back.

From one complainant he secured a total of £47,500 between February 2014 and July 2015, while a one-off cheque from a second complainant for £20,000 was paid to him in November 2015, the court heard.

Detective Constable Declan Cummings, of Weymouth CID, said: “Patrick Baker exploited people’s good nature for his own gain by giving them a false story and persuading them to lend him money, which he never paid back.

“I hope the sentence given by the court will send out a clear message that we do not tolerate offences such as this where elderly victims are targeted and we will always carry out a thorough investigation into incidents of this nature reported to us.”

Prosecuting Stuart Ellacott told the court Baker had set up two businesses but there was no evidence of them either trading or generating any income.

The prosecutor said that, in order to keep up the facade of a successful businessman, Baker spent hundreds of pounds going to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, while also forking out £221 at a fine dining restaurant.

The jury found Baker, of Ashburton, Devon, unanimously guilty of two counts of fraud on Thursday, November 28.

The following day a judge sentenced him to four years in custody for the first count. He also received a custody sentence of two years and six months for the second offence, to run concurrently with the first, meaning an overall sentence length of four years.

Baker was also ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.

As previously reported, Baker was spared jailed in 2017 after he defrauded his employees and the tax man to the tune of nearly £130,000 between May 2009 and April 2013.

He deducted income tax and National Insurance contributions from staff at three firms he operated in Blandford but never informed HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Baker, who lived in Winterborne Anderson at the time, admitted one count of fraud by abuse of position and another of fraudulent evasion of VAT at Bournemouth Crown Court.

He was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, as well as 240 hours of community service and a six-month curfew. Judge Brian Forster in sentencing him at the time said he had been “blatant” in his offending.

He was head of Poole Tourism during the mid-1980s, during which time the industry was estimated to be worth £70million a year to the town.