A FRAUDSTER who stole thousands of pounds from victims he met through dating sites and hospitals has today been jailed.
David Coombs, 52, has been locked up for four years after pleading guilty to nine counts of fraud stealing in the region of £37,000.
Southampton Crown Court heard homeless Coombs would meet his victims – which included a person from Waterlooville – online through dating sites and occasionally in medical facilities.
Police say he struck up relationships before telling them that his wallet had been stolen or that his bank card had been blocked, and would then ask for money for dinner, hotel rooms and living expenses all while claiming he was a wealthy interior designer with multiple off shore bank accounts.
Detective Sergeant Will Whale of the Western Investigation Team said Coombs was ‘prolific’, adding: ‘David Coombs has spent years spinning a web of lies purporting to be a wealthy business man with multiple properties, expensive cars and off shore bank accounts. His persistent offending has had an immeasurable effect on the lives of his victims, not just financially but also psychologically.
‘Coombs has spent the last 22 months avoiding police and attempting to evade prosecution. Today’s result shows Hampshire Constabulary will always continue to pursue complex matters regardless of anticipated difficulties or longevity.
‘I would like to thank the victims involved in this investigation, not just for having the courage to come forward, but also for understanding the complexities of the investigation and to have maintained confidence in us throughout what has been a long and protracted case.
‘I would also like to thank the many witnesses involved for the time they have given. Without the support of the public it is not possible to bring prolific offenders such as Mr Coombs to justice.’