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Blackburn man conned parents and loved ones out of thousands

A MAN ‘addicted to living a lifestyle way beyond his means’ funded exotic holidays, concerts and trips away with money stolen from loved ones – including £36,000 from his own parents.

Wayne Skinner stole from his nearest and dearest in a bid to maintain the image of a ‘wealthy young man with an extravagant lifestyle’ – going on plush trips away and wearing designer clothes.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Skinner spun a web of lies to try and get out of trouble, making up stories about his mother having a heart attack and his brother being in ICU following a car accident – neither of which were true.

The 24-year-old also attempted to avoid facing justice by producing a false negative coronavirus test before one of his earlier court appearances, something HHJ Sara Dodd said illustrated his ‘scheming and dishonest’ behaviour.

Jailing Skinner, of Blackburn, to five years and seven months in jail, Judge Dodd described how the first instance of his offending was unveiled when he was suspended from his job at his ex-girlfriend’s dad’s aerospace company, based in Colne, after he was caught in his work vehicle while disqualified from driving.

Judge Dodd said: “By late 2017 your dishonestly began to surface. By this time you had been stealing from the company for about two years. Your car needed repairing. You had said you had just curbed in when in fact there was about £12,000 in damage done to that vehicle.

“On the 21st of December 2017 you told your boss that you couldn’t got to work as your mum had a massive heart attack. However that was the date in fact that you were court being convicted of an offence of drink driving. You were disqualified from driving but continued to use the vehicle. That vehicle was ultimately seized on the 20th of March and your employer became aware that you had been driving it while uninsured.

“On that date you didn’t confess, you told another lie, that your brother had been in a serious road traffic accident, that he was in intensive care and he was fighting for his life.

“As a result of the company learning you were disqualified, you were suspended.

“By May 2018 the accountancy discrepancies started to be noticed and it was realised that fraudulent invoices had been created. Between the 17th of December 2015 and the 20th December 2017, a total of just over £13,000.”

In June 2018, the grandmother of Skinner’s then girlfriend was informed by her bank of suspicious activity on her account, relating to a bill for a takeaway delivery service.

The following week she was contacted by her bank again to say that train tickets totalling more than £100 had been bought on her card while she was sat in the bank.

When Skinner was challenged about the transactions he admitted photocopying the victim’s card and using it to pay for some food orders, train tickets to Newcastle and Ed Sheeran concert tickets. He did this without the victim’s granddaughter’s knowledge.

Speaking about a statement issued by Skinner’s ex-partner, Judge Dodd said: “Her statement is quite insightful – she said that you liked to show off and live an expensive lifestyle. That you look respectable and appear to be a pleasant young man. But you are not the person that meets the eye. She described you as lying, manipulative and controlling.”

In 2020 detectives were contacted by Skinner’s vulnerable mother who said Skinner had stolen £15,000 from her bank account and was refusing her access to her funds. While police were investigating the matter, Skinner continued to steal money from his mother’s account – taking £1,000 when she had given him her card to buy some food shopping.

As the investigation continued, it was discovered Skinner had stolen £20,000 from his own father.

Skinner was convicted of six counts of fraud by false representation, perverting the course of justice and theft by an employee.He was sentenced at Burnley Crown Court yesterday (July 13).

Judge Sara Dodd imposed an indefinite restraining order, preventing Skinner from contacting his parents directly or indirectly.

DC David Tait, of East CID, said: “I would like to praise the bravery of the victims in this long and complex investigation, particularly Skinner’s parents. To put them in a position where they were left with no option but to report their own son to the police just shows the callousness with which he operated.”

DS Steve Munro, of East CID, said: “Skinner seems to be addicted to living a life way beyond his means and has constantly stolen and committed frauds against anyone who he comes into contact with. He has stolen from strangers, work colleagues, friends, girlfriends and even his family, all seemingly without any prejudice or remorse.

“On Skinner’s social media accounts, he regularly makes the claim, ‘Fake it till you make it’ whilst posting photographs of him leading what he considers to be the high life and showing off his expensive purchases, luxury holidays and nights out at exclusive bars and clubs. All of this whilst not having a job nor any legitimate access to money other than that stolen from his various thefts and frauds.

“Skinner has manipulated everyone around him in order to make selfish gains for himself and since the investigation began in 2018, he has continued to steal even more recklessly. The only thing which stopped him was his remand by the courts.”