A FRAUDSTER who groomed women on dating sites to scam thousands of pounds from them has been jailed for more than three years.

Sebastian Timmis pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud by false representation in relation to offences committed between January 2018 and September 2020.

The 29-year-old used dating apps and websites to establish the trust of his victims before claiming to them that he was in urgent need of money.

In total, Timmis defrauded 10 women out of more than £48,000. His victims included women from Bournemouth, Bristol, Cheddar, Devizes, Malvern, Cardiff, Birmingham and Cheltenham.

The defendant would pressurise his victims into transferring money to him, promising he would pay them back.

He would make up time-critical scenarios that he needed cash for – including car repairs, utility bills or to pay for food – and never gave the money back. He instead used the money for gambling.

A judge at Bristol Crown Court jailed him for three years and four months at a hearing on Friday, February 26.

PC Rory Everitt said: “Timmis scammed these women out of thousands of pounds and made promises he knew he could not keep about returning their money.

“He clearly had no regard for his victims’ feelings and targeted people he knew were caring. He preyed on their generosity.”

The officer added: “Timmis’s scams were typical of romance fraud cases involving dating sites, where demands for cash are made from the victims, who feel pressurised to provide money for people they believe they can trust. Victims get told they need to provide the money quickly for urgent reasons, which often will be emotive and pull at heartstrings.

“We would urge anyone in that situation not to hand over money or personal details and to talk it through with family or friends if you feel under pressure. If the person you’ve met through the website genuinely cares for you as they claim, they will not object to you being cautious.

“And if you feel someone is trying to scam you, please report it to the police or Action Fraud – you could save yourself and others from falling victims to predatory fraudsters.”