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Video about police investigation into Blackburn fraudster released

AN OFFICER involved in an investigation into a 24-year-old fraudster who left his parents freezing at home as he sipped cocktails in swanky London bars has spoken about the conman.

Wayne Skinner, who stole £36,000 from his own parents to fund luxury holidays and trips to exclusive nightclubs, was jailed for five years and seven months on Tuesday.

Officers first launched an investigation into Skinner in 2018 when concerns were raised by his former employer – an engineering company in Colne – about his fraudulent conduct.

Company bosses first had concerns about Skinner when they received a phone call from a leasing company to say police had seized the BMW which the defendant had been driving because he had been continuing to use it despite a drink-drive conviction.

That led to an investigation that discovered Skinner had been using his company card to buy fuel for unauthorised vehicles, as well as creating fake invoices for items and having money paid into his personal bank account. In total he stole £13,080.62.

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. She went into the bank the following day and cancelled her card. 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.

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 was brazenly continuing 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. He only reluctantly came to the police to report his son when he began getting letters from debt collectors.

On November 10, last year, Skinner was arrested for an unrelated offence and at the time was wearing a black Apple Smartwatch. It later transpired that he had stolen the Smartwatch from the woman who had agreed to let him use her home as a bail address.

The week before he was due to appear at Burnley Crown Court for those matters, he sent an email to his solicitors purporting to be from the NHS telling him that he had to self-isolate for 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19. On that basis he asked for the case to be adjourned.  Enquiries with Public Health England revealed that Skinner had not tested positive and the email from the NHS was fraudulent.

Skinner was convicted of six counts of fraud by false representation, perverting the course of justice and theft by an employee.

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.

“Lancashire Police are committed to bringing criminals to justice, especially those who target the most vulnerable members of society.”

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.”

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